Al-Araqib Village: Symbol of Palestinian Resistance
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Al-Araqib is what Israel calls an unrecognized village, dozens like it located in the Galilee and Negev desert.
They're so-designated because their inhabitants are considered internal refugees, forced to flee from during Israel's so-called 1948 war of independence, prevented from returning when it ended - their land confiscated.
In 1965, unrecognized villages were delegitimized, their land zoned for residential, agriculture and industrial use, unlicensed construction banned - any undertaken subject to demolition.
Israel's Land Authority discriminates against Arab citizens, prohibiting their land development by:
putting large areas under regional council control;
apartheid zone restrictions;
transferring public land adjacent to Arab communities to Jewish National Fund (JNF) ownership, mandating it exclusively for Jews;
-connecting the cost of leasing land to military service, discriminating against Arab citizens, almost none performing it; and
forced evictions and demolitions of buildings constructed without permits; in unrecognized villages, Arab citizens aren't allowed them on their own land.
They have no representation on planning committees, their fundamental rights denied.
No new Palestinian communities are allowed. Existing unrecognized villages are denied essential municipal services - including potable water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal, and more because under the Planning and Construction Law they're illegal.
Al-Araqib was demolished and rebuilt an astonishing 116 times since 2010, the latest razing this month.
More than half of around 160,000 Bedouin Arabs live in unrecognized villages. Eliminating them is longstanding Israeli policy to permit expanded Jews-only development.
When home demolitions are ordered, Palestinians may have to pay the cost. Al-Araqib residents were ordered to pay about $541,000 for destroying their village scores of times since 2010.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel calls Bedouin citizens "one of the most discriminated groups within the Arab population and within Israeli society as a whole."
"ACRI seeks to protect the rights of the Negev Bedouin by promoting village recognition as a means of eradicating the constant threat of demolition and relocation, while beginning to improve living conditions and access to state resources."
"Additionally, ACRI opposes current and new settlement construction on land inhabited by residents of unrecognized villages."
Separately, its executive director Sharon Abraham-Weiss denounced Israel's planned demolition of Umm Al-Hiran, an Arab Bedouin village in the Negev established with government permission.
Demolition is to make way for Jewish development, infringing on the rights of Arab citizens.
Longstanding Israeli policy calls for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs - ideally eliminating them altogether by ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide.
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