Violence Erupts in an Unrecognized Bedouin Village

I received the information below from Faisal Sawalha on June 30.  The basic facts of what occurred in Beer-Almshash have been independently verified by Anat Hoffman of the IRAC as of  this morning.  I have written about "Uncomfortable Pattern Recognition" elsewhere in this blog and in a different context, but I now see it again, and I am both saddened and disturbed by the latest negative developments in the Negev on the heels of my first visit to the region just a couple of weeks ago.  It is not too late for constructive dialogue to begin with the Bedouins in the Negev, yet…

ILA employees and Police attack Beer-Almshash people and hold Chairperson Al-Rafay’a and his Deputy Al-Wakili for interrogation

This morning, June 30, 2005, Israel Land Authority (ILA) employees accompanied by a large number of police came to the unrecognized village of Beer-Almshash with many home demolition orders and warnings of demolition. They behaved provocatively; they did not respect the tradition, got into homes without asking the people nor knocking on the doors, and frightened kids and women. They even prevented people getting back to the village from going to their homes. The people in the village tried to stop them, and the police responded violently.

As a result, a pregnant woman was taken to the hospital. Many others were injured, but they refused to go the hospital; they wanted to stay close to their homes and land. The police and ILA employees distributed 16 demolition orders to the people. They did not distribute all the orders they had after they attacked the people. Mr. Hussein Al-Rafay’a, Chairperson of the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) and his deputy, Mr. Ibrahim Al-Wkili, a resident of Beer-Almshash, asked the police and the ILA employees to leave the village and to stop their provocation.

After that, the police came to Mr. Al-Wakili’s home, where Al-Rafay’a and Al-Wakili were discussing the recent developments with the people of the village, and held both for interrogation. RCUV and all the residents of the unrecognized villages are extremely worried by the attack against the residents of Beer-Almshash and holding Al-Rafay’a and Al-Wakili for interrogation. We see these actions as unjustified provocation and a grave violation of human and citizens’ rights.

Faisal Sawalha
Resource Development and Public Relations
The Regional Coucil for the Arab Unrecognized Villages in the Negev
Tel: ++972-8-6283043
Fax: ++972-8-6283315
Mobile: ++972-50-7342917

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