Israel demolishes al-Araqib village buildings for 80th time

Published Wednesday 14/01/2015 (updated) 16/01/2015 13:35

A file photo shows part of the village following the 16th Israeli demolition in 2011. (MaanImages/File).

BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished a number of steel structures belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Negev-region village of al-Araqib for the 80th time in a row.

Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police forces, also demolished an illegal building in the industrial area of Rahat, also in southern Israel.

Both towns are populated primarily by Palestinian Bedouins with Israeli citizenship, and al-Araqib in particular has been targeted repeatedly since 2010 for demolition by authorities.

Israel considers al-Araqib and most other Arab villages in the Negev illegal, while Bedouins say it is their ancestral land and that they have a right to live in the area.

Residents of al-Araqib have repeatedly fled into their village cemetery and lived there after Israeli authorities bulldozed parts of the town, since they had been assured the cemetery would not be destroyed.

There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.

Al-Araqib is among some of the 40 Negev villages Israeli authorities have deemed unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove land ownership.

Israel Closes Muslim NGOs Protecting Al Aqsa Mosque

Israeli police stated, Monday, that they had closed down three NGOs affiliated with the Islamic Movement in northern Israel, which is known for defending Al Aqsa Mosque against extremist Jewish settlers.


Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said that it shut down the three organisations in the town of Nazareth that had been set up last year by the Movement, which has a following among Palestinians living in Israel.
Al Ray, via World Bulletin, cited Shin Bet’s allegation that the groups – Al Aqsa Champions, Muslim Women for Al Aqsa and Al Fajr Foundation for Culture and Literature – paid activists to use “verbal and even physical violence” against visitors to the Jerusalem shrine, with the goal of “agitating and stirring up emotions.”

Israeli police stated that the closure of the institutions was based on an order by Israeli public security, Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, according to Israeli radio.

The Internal Security Agency, meanwhile, claimed that a security assessment showd that the two institutions had been suspected of funding activities of both the Islamic Movement in northern Israel and Gaza-based political party Hamas.

The agency added, in a statement, that the two NGOs had allocated some money to fund the activities of the two movements which, according to it, violated Israeli law.

It said that the two institutions paid salaries of people who go to the flashpoint of Al Aqsa Mosque, in East Jerusalem, every day.

Furthermore, Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, outlawed all three groups last month. The ministry has the authority to outlaw organizations it deems a threat to national security.

The Islamic Movement denied the accusations in a statement relating to two of the groups: Al Aqsa Champions is “a media organization (that is) professional and balanced and focuses only on events inside the mosque,” and Muslim Women for Al Aqsa “organises study for women inside the mosque.”

Police said that offices of the two NGOs had been raided by security forces, where computers and documents related to their accounts had been seized. According to the statement, some officials of the two institutions had also been detained.

Muslim Women for Al-Aqsa, one of the NGOs raided, stated that a large number of Israeli policemen had raided its office in Nazareth and confiscated equipment. Additionally, female workers had been detained by Israeli forces during the raid.

See also: 12/20/14 Thousands March Through Jerusalem’s Old City Following Prayers at Al Aqsa for more details on this ongoing crisis.


Army Invades Two Villages Near Jenin

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, Sanour village south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched and ransacked several homes and stores, and kidnapped one Palestinian; many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in a nearby village.

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Local sources said the soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Safi Walad ‘Ali, 24 years of age, and kidnapped him after violently searching and ransacking his home.

The family said the soldiers stole approximately 23.000 NIS, and several gold items, during the search, and deliberately destroyed furniture and walls, The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported.

The family told WAFA it filed an official complaint to the Palestinian side of the “District Coordination Office.”

The invasion led to clashes between the invading soldiers and dozens of local youths.

In related news, soldiers invaded Barta’a ash-Sharqiyya village, isolated by the Israeli Annexation Wall, and clashed with local youths.

The army fired gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets and several rounds of live ammunition.

Medical sources said scores of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics.

In addition, the soldiers invaded several stores after smashing their doors, and destroyed their property while searching them.