As senior White House adviser Jared Kushner meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, we wonder if the American will ask the prime minister whether he has any shame for destroying a Bedouin village for the 114th time.
On Wednesday, the Israel Land Authority and the Israeli police raided the al-Araqib village, which is considered “unrecognized” by the government.
In order to, once again, push Bedouins into relocating to Israeli government-planned areas, authorities used bulldozers to demolish the locals' tin homes.
According to Palestinian news agencies, this is the 114th time the village has been demolished by Israeli officials. The first time this type of unwarranted attack took place was in June 2010.
Across the country, at least 35 Bedouin villages remain “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, mainly because the government continues to try to pressure them to disregard their lifestyle and relocate to state-planned urban centers. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has stated that half of the 160,000 Naqab Bedouins in the region still live in unrecognized villages.
To many, the systemic demolition of these villages shows that Israel is simply trying to expand its illegal Jewish settlements, attempting to remove indigenous Palestinian individuals from certain locations so Jewish-only settlements are established. Last year, at least five of these settlements were established in the Negev region, where Bedouin villages are still in existence.
Palestinian Bedouins have occupied these villages ever since Israeli military forcefully transferred them to the region in 1956.
Every time Israeli authorities demolish these villages, the Bedouin population simply gets back on their feet and rebuilds.
When talking to the Ma'an News Agency, Sayyah al-Turi, an al-Araqib resident, said that the “demolition crimes will not scare us or stop us from rebuilding our homes and holding on to our lands. We will stay here despite the injustice and criminal demolitions, we will not submit to their plans of uprooting and displacing us.”
It's unlikely that Kushner, who also serves as President Donald Trump's chief Middle East adviser, will even mention the plight of the Bedouins during his entire stay. But to Netanyahu's despair, the news cannot be suppressed, especially now that the internet is people's No. 1 news source.
Hopefully, this story is shared far and wide so that the public in Israel is made aware of the country's treatment of all Palestinians. Only once people are aware will they begin to pressure their government to drastically change their ways.