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Israeli bulldozers destroy Bedouin village for the 61st time

Source : Agencies | 20 Nov 2013

Israeli bulldozers on Wednesday destroyed the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in the Negev Desert for the 61st time in the last three years.

On Wednesday morning, seven bulldozers – backed by a large contingent of Israeli police – entered the village and began demolishing homes and other structures, Ibrahim al-Wakili, who heads the regional council of unrecognized Bedouin communities in the Negev, told Anadolu Agency.

"We will start rebuilding our village immediately," al-Wakili said. "We will not leave our land."

Mahmoud al-Said, a 45-year-old Bedouin resident of the Negev whose home was razed on Wednesday, said it was the 40th time that Israeli authorities had destroyed his residence.

"My family has been subject to this racism for the last three years," said al-Said, adding defiantly: "I will rebuild my home."

The Israeli government classifies approximately 40 villages in the Negev Desert as "unrecognized," arguing that the roughly 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove their ownership of the land.

Yousef Abu Zayed, head of the committee for Al-Araqib village, accused Israeli authorities of trying to drive local inhabitants from their traditional homes.

"It will not happen," said Abu Zayed. "We will continue our struggle against the authorities inside the Israeli courts to prevent them from appropriating our land."

Claiming that most land in the Negev Desert is "state property," the self-proclaimed Jewish state has repeatedly demolished Bedouin homes in the area.