On July 27, 2011, the Negev Bedouin village of Al-Arakib was demolished by the Israeli government for the 25th time in a year. By late 2012, the government has demolished the village, and the residents have rebuilt, more than 30 times.
On February 16th and 17th, and again on March 9th, 2011, the village was destroyed by the Israeli government and the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the culmination of a series of demolitions, most recently coupled with vicious police beatings and shooting of Bedouin children, women and men by Israeli Riot Police, causing numerous injuries and hospitalizations. All so the Jewish National Fund can plant a forest over the remains of the village.
Israel Lands Administration Development Director Shlomo Zeiser told YNET (1/16/11) that the Israel Land Administration (ILA) is making an effort to find a “final solution" to what's happening in Al-Arakib. He acknowledged that “we are preparing the ground for planting," clearly implicating the JNF, whose bulldozers have been participating in the destruction of Bedouin homes in the village. JNF recently built a camp for its bulldozers in Al-Arakib, to plant a forest that will prevent the return of the Bedouin forever and cover up all traces of Bedouin life in the demolished village.
We will not stand by in silence as the Netanyahu-Lieberman government tries to wipe out an entire Arab village in Israel!
These terrible events are a continuation of what began on July 27, 2010 when bulldozers from the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) demolished the homes, sheep pens, fruit orchards and olive tree groves of the Bedouin Israelis in Al-Arakib for the first time. The residents have rebuilt their homes after each demolition, but ILA, and more recently JNF, bulldozers and the Israel Police have demolished the village some twenty times during 2011 and 2012, with great brutality and violence.
As American Jews, and others in the US, Israel and around the world who care deeply for Israel, we join with many Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, in raising our voices in protest at the destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib and the forcible removal by some 1,500 Israeli police of over 300 Bedouin Israeli citizens – mostly children – leaving them homeless, expelled from their land, and bereft of their possessions.
Over 3,000 Israelis have already signed a Hebrew petition to Prime Minister Netanyahu calling for an end to the destruction of Bedouin villages in Israel and a just and comprehensive solution to the plight of Israel's Bedouin Palestinian Arab citizens in the Negev. We join them in solidarity. A group of 60 prominent rabbis, American Jewish scholars, artists, writers and NGO leaders have endorsed this petition.
Tell the Israeli government: these outrages must stop NOW!
Please click on "Take Action" on the left side of this page, add your name and your protest message will be emailed right now to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Israel Lands Administration (ILA) Director-General Yaron Bibi and ILA Development Dept. Director Shlomo Zeiser.
Co-sponsored by Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, Meretz USA, the Shalom Center, The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, Jewish Voice for Peace, Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and Tikun Olam - a big tent of groups that differ ideologically but have come together in support of this petition.