Negev Bedouin Protest Home Demolitions, Crop Destruction

Dozens of Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages in the Negev Desert demonstrated in Be'er Sheva on Sunday morning against the Interior Ministry's and Israel Lands Administration's policies of home demolitions and crop destruction in their villages.

The protest was held opposite the Interior Ministry's Be'er Sheva offices.

Last week, the ILA's crop-duster planes again sprayed wheat fields planted by the Bedouin citizens, killing the crops.

Sheikh Sayikh Al-Turi, of the Al-Arakib village near Kibbutz Lahav, said this was the fifth time in five years that state authorities had sprayed his crops.

"Two hundred people live off this land. We have no other choice than to plant again. I hope enough rain falls for the wheat to sprout," he said.

The Bedouin were also protesting to harm to people, pasture lands and livestock caused by the spraying.

"One of my family members passed out after breathing the spray that was used," Al-Turi said.

The demonstrators carried signs reading "The destruction of croplands is terror" and "The state is using weapons of mass destruction against the Bedouins."