Israel's Bedouin Eradication
NEW ZEALAND HERALD
The unwanted tribe of Israel
4:00AM Saturday Mar 28, 2009
The destruction began just before midday when Israeli security forces fanned out to form a line on a hill overlooking the tiny Bedouin settlement.
Armed with guns, sprays and batons, the police moved forward with military precision, led by a paramilitary force called the Green Patrol.
Out of sight, reinforcements sat in a fleet of vehicles in case of resistance by the Arab villagers while behind the police line three bulldozers revved their engines ominously.
Once they reached the bottom of the hill, officers vaulted a fence then began clearing the village systematically. As police entered the homes and ordered families to vacate, people were still inside frantically trying to salvage clothes and possessions.
An estimated 62,000 Bedouin Arabs live in 45 "unrecognised villages" in the Negev. They are Israeli citizens and taxpayers but they face the constant threat of forced removal and have limited, if any, access to services such as education, garbage collection, water and electricity supplies.
Although Arabs, many Bedouin opt to do national service in the Israeli army and they are not politicised in the same way as Palestinians - not yet anyway.
Both the Ottoman Empire and the British in Palestine during the 1920s acknowledged Bedouin rights but the Israeli Government refuses to accept their land claims. As a consequence, the "unrecognised villages" have no legal status and are not signposted on roads or marked on any official maps....