Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So why is the Government of Israel so intent on erasing the village of Al-Arakib?, by Dr. Yeela Raanan, Shatil (Israel)

The village of El Araqib was demolished - erased today for the fifth time in as many weeks. Aiman Uda, the General Secretary of the Hadash party was arrested – just because he was there.

The village of El-Araqib has been in this location for hundreds of years. Travel logs from a hundred years ago describe it. Aerial photos from 70 years ago show it. Land taxes were paid to the British, and the official paperwork exists. The grandchildren of those paying the taxes still live in the village.

And still it is so important for the Government of Israel to erase this village that this morning at 4:00 am scores of police and several bulldozers came to once more demolish anything standing, attempt at breaking the spirits of the villagers, and erase this village from the map of Israel.

So - WHY???

Governmental plans for these lands – a forest. Since this is desert land the forest will never really be a great forest, but at least there will be some (preferably prickly) trees, so that there will be no ARABS.

Indeed – this is the reason. In Israel ... the Arab citizens are seen at best as a hindrance. While their existence is somewhat tolerated, allowing them to use (and own!) land – is seen as an abomination. So – A-Tori tribe, the governmental plans for you are that you move to the Bedouin city of Rahat, you will receive half a dunam (1/8 of an acre) to build a house, we will not bother to provide income generating options, we will not worry about your unique culture, nor care for a reasonable education system. All that is important is that we will not need to see you, that you will not use "our" land, and we will happily allow you to be our blue collar workers. That is – if there is work.

This is the continuation of the policies of 1948, when hundreds of Arab villages were erased. The government believes that we are still in a fight for the existence of the country, and erasing El-Araqib will help the state survive.

Israel is indeed in a battle for its existence, but not the battle the government is fighting – we are now in a battle for the character of our country....

If Israel will choose the democratic way – it includes equality for all its citizens. If Israel will continue to insist on the erasure of El-Araqib – we are going the other way…

Demonstration, today, at 5:00pm at the Lehavim-Rahat juct. Demonstrate for the village of El-Araqib – and the future of our country!

What else can you do?

· Support financially: re-building is the only way to resist the erasure of the village, but even tents cost. (you can donate via the Negev Coexistence Forum online at: http://www.israelgives.org/amuta/580327005 Make sure to indicate that the funds are for rebuilding El-Araqib at: mail@dukium.org )

· Send protest letters to Yehuda Bahar, the director of the Authority for the Settlement of the Bedouins. Fax: +972 8 6263719. Tell him of your indignation of these bully tactics. Tell him that it violates human rights, and that it will bring about only more violence and resentment to all communities in the Negev.

· Write to your representatives! Tell them that the treatment of the indigenous Bedouin minority violates human rights, and it is their duty to protest it.

· Write to the Israeli Ambassador in your country. Ask them to explain the actions of the Israeli Government and its officials.

· Write to your embassy in Israel. Tell them of the treatment of the Bedouin minority by the Government. Suggest strongly that they become knowledgeable in this issue and ask Israel difficult questions.

· Spread the word! Tell anyone and everyone who is willing to listen.

For more information: Dr. Yeela Raanan, Shatil. yallylivnat@gmail.com +972 54 7487005

Excerpted from original post by Rabbis for Human Rights-Israel

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