Photo: Meir Azulay
Bedouin home razed in Negev (Archive)
Photo: Meir Azulay
Bedouin tribe in Negev gets 22 housing demolition orders
Hundreds of members of al-Atrash Bedouin tribe will be left homeless if state goes through with orders to raze 22 buildings in Negev village. 'Our sons are off fighting in Gaza, and this is what they'll come back to?' say enraged villagers
Members of the al-Atrash Bedouin tribe were furious to receive 22 demolition orders on Sunday, in accordance with a judicial injunction requested by the Interior Ministry.


"Two of our boys are soldiers serving in Gaza right now, and each got a demolition order for his home. This is what they need to think about when they're serving in Gaza?" demanded a member of the community.


Interior Ministry officials arrived along with a police escort Sunday and caused turmoil in the Bedouin village, located near Be'er Sheva in southern Israel.


"The kids see police officers handing out eviction orders, and they think that the police are the ones evicting them. This isn't beneficial for the children in the community," Yunas al-Atrash, principal of the local school, told Ynet. Yunas has received a demolition order for his home as well.


"It isn't clear when the orders will be carried out," said Dr. Yussef al-Atrash, a family doctor who also discovered a demolition order taped to his front door Sunday.


"We have been fighting this for a long time, but each governmental official just throws the ball into someone else's court, and in the end no one sits with us to find a solution. We respect the law, but we don't have building permits," he said.


Hundreds to be homeless

According to Yussef, the buildings slated for demolition house some 200 people.


"My daughter is recovering from cancer. (In my family) we have three elderly relatives in poor condition, five soldiers who finished the army and a reserves officer, and two more soldiers serving in Gaza right now," he added.


It has been reported recently that the rate of military conscription in the Bedouin community has dropped significantly, partly due to their feelings of alienation from the state.


"My two cousins are serving in Gaza, and their homes get slapped with demolition orders. This is what they have to think about when they're fighting in Gaza? How will they (the Interior Ministry) leave 200 people homeless?" he demanded.


Head of the council for unrecognized villages in the Negev, Hassin al-Rafiah, told Ynet that enlistment for the army has dropped "because of the state's policies. This is why unemployment rates, poverty and housing demolition are increasing. We're considering turning to the High Court of Justice, because it just can't be that the state is destroying homes and not offering other options."


In response, the Interior Ministry confirmed that "22 judicial orders were distributed for illegal structures. The settlement in question is not legal nor will it be legal in the future, and it is not mentioned in any urban plan."


פרסום ראשון: 05.13.07, 23:59
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