Violent clashes in disputed village: Residents of al-Arakib, the Bedouin village not recognized by the State of Israel, clashed Thursday with police forces and JNF officials who came to plant trees in the area. Four women and two men were lightly injured and three people were arrested on suspicion of hurling stones. The wounded were taken to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.
The clashes broke out after residents and activists disrupted JNF forestry work in the area.
Last month, the Beersheba District Court cancelled the interim injunction against JNF and Civil Administration forestry work on the village's land. The presiding judge ordered the village representatives to pay for the State's legal costs amounting to NIS 10,000 ($2,738).
And yet, the judge also expressed criticism over the State's conduct. "Both sides would do well to show restraint, not only because of the fact that the committee for the implementation of the Goldberg Committee's conclusions is completing its work as we speak, but also because of the fact that restraint serves the public's interest," she stated in the verdict.
Following the events, the Balad party called for a general strike by Arab-Israelis and announced it will work to bring the matter before the UN and international organizations. "Balad condemns the government's criminal policy and barbaric treatment of the residents," a statement on behalf of the party noted.
Over the past few months, the village of al-Arakib became a permanent battlefield between residents and law enforcement forces. Clashes have broken out between the two sides over a dozen times when Land Administration officials came to the village to demolish illegal structures. Each time the structures are demolished the residents rebuild them again, without obtaining permits.