Police Clash With Bedouin Attempting to Rebuild Razed Village

A number of injuries have been reported, among them MK Talab El-Sana, who apparently fainted while entrenched in a tent constructed to protest the village's demolition.

Clashes broke out on Wednesday between residents of an unrecognized Bedouin village and Israel Land Administration workers, who arrived to stop Bedouin who were trying to rebuild the village.

Al-Arakib, which is located north of Be'er Sheva, was razed by authorities last week after it was deemed illegal; several tents have been erected since then in an effort to rebuild the village.

The Bedouin villagers claim that the police acted violently during the clashes. A number of injuries have been reported, among them MK Talab El-Sana, who apparently fainted while entrenching himself in one of the tents constructed to protest the village's demolition. He was taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva for treatment.

Iman Udah of the Hadash party was also injured and then arrested by police at the scene of the clashes.

The committee of al-Arakib said on Wednesday that "all attempts to uproot the residents of the village will fail in the end."

"The attempt to uproot Bedouin citizens from their settlements constitutes a serious insult to all Bedouin," the committee said, adding that it deepens the crisis of distrust between the state and its Bedouin citizens.

The village of al-Arakib was destroyed last week after government officials determined it was built illegally on state land. Israel Police forces destroyed about 35 buildings, said residents. Confrontations broke out between the police and residents, and in the end one woman was arrested and six people were detained. Over 1,500 police came to guard the demolition.

The ILA said the evacuation was conducted after many years of legal - and physical - battles against the Aturi tribe. The ILA said the Bedouin invaded the area, which is state land, in 1998 and in 2000 a court order was handed down banning them from entering the area. But the tribe moved in and planted trees. The ILA offered to rent them the land at a price of NIS 2 per dunam, but they refused to pay. The ILA received a court order to evacuate the residents in 2003 and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee said after the village was razed that it would rebuild the destroyed homes. In an emergency meeting, the committee also decided to establish a fund to help the families, as well as asking the UN and international human rights organizations to look into the matter.