Israel: Halt Demolitions of Bedouin Homes in Negev

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli government should immediately impose a moratorium on demolishing the homes of Bedouin citizens, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also fully compensate those whose homes and property it has destroyed and allow them to return to their village pending a final agreement with the displaced that respects their rights under international law.

In a pre-dawn raid on July 27, 2010, Israeli security forces destroyed all 45 homes, animal pens, and other structures in the village of al-Araqib, leaving more than 300 people homeless, about half of them children under 16. Nearly 90,000 Palestinian Arab Bedouins, the indigenous inhabitants of the Negev (Naqab) region of southern Israel, live in dozens of "unrecognized" towns. Because the Israeli authorities refuse to recognize their towns and villages, the Bedouins risk the destruction of their homes at any time.

"Tearing down an entire village and leaving its inhabitants homeless without exhausting all other options for settling longstanding land claims is outrageous," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The attack on these Israeli citizens’ property shows that Israel’s discriminatory policies toward Palestinian Arab Bedouin have not changed."

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