Some 1,300 police officers equipped with helmets, batons and crowd-dispersal means arrived at the Bedouin village of al-Arakib on Tuesday, which is unrecognized by the State, in order to secure the demolition of 45 structures.
A woman was arrested and several Bedouins were detained for questioning during the razing, performed by the Israel Land Administration.
The officers arrived at the village early on Tuesday morning and were greeted by large bonfires, lighted by locals. The officers advised the villagers to evacuate the area before they commence the demolition prompting protest on the part of the residents and left-wing activists.
Women and children watched as Land Administration bulldozers demolished their houses. Some grown men even wept. A group of left-wing activists clashed mildly with the officers.
"This is a declaration of war on the Bedouin residents," extreme left-wing activist Ezra Nawi proclaimed. Naomi, an activist from Jerusalem said: "An historical injustice is being performed here. These are people who lived here prior to the establishment of the State, which is now denying them of the most basic right for a roof over their heads. Most of them will be forced to live in the sands."
Officers met by bonfires (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
Al-Arakib spokesman and local resident Dr. Awad Abu-Farikh said following the razing: "Today we got a close glimpse of the government's true face. We were stunned to witness the violent force being used. The black-clad special unit forces are the true face of Lieberman's democracy. This operation is the first step in the uprooting of many villages. We shall return to our villages, build our homes and not leave this place."
Shlomo Tziser, an official with the Land Administration's southern district, noted that "the people who live here have homes in Rahat and Kfar Kassem. We are implementing a verdict for the evacuation of the area which has passed all legal instances. Today we shall evacuate them and should they return we'll do it again."
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