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Displacing the Bedouin

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Displacing the BedouinIt's hard to understand why Israel is pushing a significant sector of its citizens toward extremism and crime. Twice last week employees of the Israel Lands Administration, with the help of a large police contingent, demolished the homes of around 300 residents in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Arakib in the Negev.

Most of them, citizens of the State of Israel, including many children, were left not only without homes, but humiliated, frustrated and shocked. Both times the police were brutal, and neither time did the state offer an alternative, compensation or assistance, either material or psychological, for the people whose village was demolished and world was destroyed. That's how a country treats its citizens.

Even if there is substance to the state's claims that the village's lands belong to the state and not to the inhabitants, it should have offered other solutions besides sending in bulldozers again and again. There is a large cemetery at Al-Arakib and water wells that the residents say denote their possession of the land, along with old ownership documents.

They claim they were forced to abandon the area after the War of Independence and that they returned in the 1990s because the land remained empty.



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