Thursday, February 10, 2011
Women, Children of Bedouin Village Al-Araqib Beaten & Hospitalized as they Silently Protest 16th Demolition of their Homes
Women and children of the Bedouin village of Al Araqib were beaten and tear gassed by Israel forces Thursday morning (Feb. 10), in an attempt to halt the 16th demolition of their homes and property.
Israeli forces and Jewish National Fund workers entered the Bedouin village and again destroyed the residents homes, and continued preparing the land for the planting of a “peace forest”.
When residents and activists attempted to halt their work, JNF workers and Israeli police fought back with force. The men in the village were held or detained while the women and children stood before the police and bulldozers and did not allow them to pass, all the while waving their Israeli identification cards as an expression of their trampled civil rights. The police attacked them with punches and tear gas.
Six residents, four women and two children, were hospitalized at the Soroka hospital in Beer Sheva. Later in the day, two of the women remained hospitalized.
“The police harshly beat the women and children who were standing in quiet protest, they simply beat women and children…I stood alongside a woman who was beaten by four police officers, actual fists in her face, ears and neck, in addition to kicks until she almost lost consciousness…people are sitting on the ground, in the rain, and not moving, women and children. The police shot stun grenades and foam bullets directly at the women, at point blank,” reported Tamar, an activist who was present in the village.
Three residents were also arrested, including a sixteen year old, and two Israeli activists are being detained at the local police station.
“They were detentions with no legal basis. The people were arbitrarily detained…these are intentional detentions, the goal of which is to break the residents of the village and the activists who come to support them…the police are collaborating with the Jewish National Fund (JNF),” said Attorney Salem Abu Madia’am.
Al Araqib was destroyed for the 14th time earlier this week (8/2), as part of the aggressive JNF and Israel Land Authority attempt to claim their historic land and use it for forestation and future Jewish settlement.
In recent months the JNF and the Israel Land Authority (ILA) have been working to “encourage” the remaining nomadic Bedouin communities to settle in cities and stay off the land. The encouragement has come in the form of regular demolitions of Bedouin villages.
Excerpted from Tania Kepler for the Alternative Information Center