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Israel again razes Bedouin village

By the CNN Wire Staff
Israeli policemen surround a Bedouin woman as she sits next to her wrecked house in the Al-Akarib village, August 10, 2010.
Israeli policemen surround a Bedouin woman as she sits next to her wrecked house in the Al-Akarib village, August 10, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Israel says the Bedouin villagers built their homes illegally
  • The residents of Al-Araqeeb say they have been on that land since long before Israel existed
  • The demolition, the third since late July, comes just before the holy month of Ramadan
RELATED TOPICS
  • Israel
  • Negev Desert

Jerusalem (CNN) -- On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli police re-entered a Bedouin village Tuesday to repeat the demolition of homes they had razed only a few days earlier.

Israeli police closed off entrances to Al-Araqeeb, in southern Israel's Negev Desert, and tore down houses that had been partially rebuilt in the past week, confiscated water tanks, attacked livestock and arrested five people, said Talab El-Sana, an Arab member of the Knesset.

Even the village sign was taken down, he said. And villagers, who were getting ready for Ramadan, set to begin Wednesday, resorted to the cemetery for shelter.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were removing sheds that were built illegally.

According to Israeli civil rights groups, more than a 150,000 Bedouins live in villages like Al-Araqeeb, not recognized by the Israeli government, not provided with any municipal services.

Israel insists the villagers don't own the land or have building permits and the demolitions were in response to a court order.

"In compliance with court orders we will return if necessary," Rosenfeld said.

Villagers, however, say they've lived in the region dating back to Ottoman days before Israel was founded, and have original deeds to the land.

Police first raided Al-Araqueeb, five miles north of Beer Sheva, on July 27, leveling homes and uprooting trees. Villagers began rebuilding immediately.

Tuesday's raid was the third time the village has been demolished.