Al-Araqib demolition. Image Credit: MEMO
As a result of the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures practically ceased during June 2017. Unfortunately, whilst this appears to be a positive development, no change in policy had occurred, and the end of Ramadan will likely bring a return to the usual Israeli demolition schedule. During 2017 the weekly demolition average so far has been 16, while in 2016 the weekly demolition average was 29.
Despite the overall downturn a number of demolitions still took place across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). On June 1st Israeli forces demolished a Bedouin home in the village of al- Liqya in the Negev, leaving a family homeless. The pretext for destroying the home was ‘built without a permit’. But of course building permits are virtually impossible for Palestinians to get across the Occupied Palestinian Territory and within Israel itself, and the process to obtain a building permit often takes many years and tens of thousands of dollars in fees, usually with no success.
On June 4th a further demolition took place in Ya’ab near Jenin. Ten days later on June 14th the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in the Naqab/Negev desert was demolished for the 114th time since 2010, and for the sixth time this year. Al-Araqib is one of 35 unrecognised Bedouin villages where approximately 160,000 Bedouins live. Israel has stepped up efforts in recent years to clear the Negev/Naqab of its Bedouin inhabitants to make way for new Israeli settlements.
A further two demolitions took place on June 14th. In the Sawawin area Israeli troops destroyed a Palestinian sheep pen. In the unrecognised Bedouin village of Wadi Al Naam in the Naqab/Negev an agricultural storehouse was destroyed, as well as the floor of a family home which the residents were forced to destroy themselves to avoid being charged for the demolition.