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Israel destroys 'illegal' Beduin Negev village

07-28-2010 08:55 BJT

JERUSALEM, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Israel Land Administration (ILA) officials said on Tuesday that a thousand police razed what they said an illegally-constructed village in the Negev Desert, near the officially recognized Beduin town of Rahat.

Unnamed officials told reporters the demolition of some 45 structures in al-Arakib, which were built without permits, came after its 300 residents were given evacuation notices in June to leave the structures.

"Today we got a close glimpse at the government's true face. We were stunned to witness the violent force being used," local resident and spokesman Awad Abu-Farikh said.

Residents and about 150 supporters scuffled with law- enforcement officials carrying out the operation, according to pro- Beduin activists, but there were no reports of injuries.

"We are implementing a verdict for the evacuation of the area," the officials said, adding "today we shall evacuate them and should they return we'll do it again," the official said.

"We shall return to our villages, build our homes and not leave this place," Abu-Farikh said.

The issue of who owns the land is under discussion in the Beer Sheva District Court.

Residents say their presence in the area predates that of Israel's, established in 1948, and the government evicted them from the area in 1951.

There are some 150,000 Beduins in Israel, the majority of whom live in the Negev area. Many are traditionally nomadic, and move throughout the region, although more and more are setting down.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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