10 September 2010
End the demolition of Bedouin homes in southern Israel

This year has seen a marked increase in the demolition of Bedouin homes in the Negev (or Naqab) area of southern Israel. On 27 July 2010, the entire al-'Araqib village comprising around 250 people, including many children, was destroyed by officials of the Israel Lands Administration accompanied by over 1,000 police. Olive trees that had been planted by the population were uprooted. According to the Israeli non-governmental organization Adalah, the police also confiscated personal possessions belonging to the residents including electricity generators, refrigerators, ovens, bedroom furniture and bags of flour.

Attempts by residents and their supporters to rebuild homes in the village were met by further destruction to their property by the Israeli authorities.

Dozens of Bedouin villages in southern Israel are not formally recognized by the state authorities, even though their tens of thousands of residents are Israeli citizens. They lack basic services and live under constant threat of destruction of their homes and eviction from the land.

The Israel Lands Administration classifies al-'Araqib and other "unrecognized" villages as state land claiming the Bedouin citizens of Israel "invaded" these areas. Yet, the Bedouin have a well-established historical claim to live there and international human rights law supports the view that they should be free from threats of home demolition or forced evictions.

Amnesty International urges the Israeli authorities immediately to end its home demolitions and forced evictions policy in al-'Araqib and other "unrecognized" villages in Israel.

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