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Israeli government demolishes village of Twail Abu-Jarwal

Israeli government demolishes village of Twail Abu-Jarwal
Yeela Raanan, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev. (RCUV), 10 May 2007

On May 8th , 2007, the Government of Israel once more demolished the entire village of Twail Abu-Jarwal in the Israeli Negev: 30 tents and huts.

Sunset, the stifling heat of the day had lifted, we sat as the villagers related the destruction that occurred in the morning. They arrived at 9:30am, two bulldozers accompanied by scores of armed policepeople and a handful of youth from the West Bank settlements – “workers” – to demolish the entire village. “I was at work, I didn’t know that my home was demolished until I came ‘home'”, one related. “They buried alive the doves’ hatchlings”, said Yunis sadly. “Many of the village people are in Jordan for a wedding, they must of known that, they have informers everywhere, even at the border crossing”, thought another. The bulldozer driver took his time, he worked slowly and thoroughly, he left nothing standing, nothing.” “On the other side of the village they ruined the water containers, they even destroyed the broken-down van that the old man used as a shelter.” “And the other old guy, Muhammad, didn’t want to leave his house, so they picked him up and forcefully took him out,” related Ibrahim, “and then, when his son Yaser wanted to make shade for him and picked the fabric off the ground, and took the tent pole in his other hand, he was arrested by the police, who claimed that he was about to hit him.” “This is the eighth time in the last two years the have come to demolish. It is the forth time that they have flattened it out completely.”

Aqil el-Talalqa, the village council head, sat many times with representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Authority for the “Advancement” of the Bedouins, and the Israeli Land Authority. They suggested that he and the village move to another temporary location, while the government contemplates what to do with the people. But Aqil is refusing; he has had enough with temporary solutions. His people were moved ‘temporarily’ in 1952, and have been pushed around ever since. All 500 members of the village are still living in crowded temporary homes on the outskirts of Laqia without a possibility of receiving building permits; their homes in their ancestral village are demolished every month, they are still waiting for the plots they bought in the town on Laqia in 1978. Is it not time for a permanent solution? The village people have presented their case to the Israeli courts. In the meantime their homes are being demolished.

We sat quietly, staring at the ruins of the homes, listening to the sheep as they strolled home. Yunis broke the silence, “But the little hatchlings, why did they have to bury them alive?”

Press release
9 May 2007

Once more so-called “Green Patrol” officers, joined by police, came to destroy houses of villagers in Taweel Abu-Jerla (in the Negev). Furthermore they uprooted and confiscated the tent of Nori el-Okbi in which he demonstrates for more than a year on his lands in al-Arakib and also took his car which serves him as a home. The car was taken with all his belongings: a bed, food and water.

The treatment of the Bedouin citizens by the Israeli authorities has passed all limits.

We know that consecutive governments have prepared and implemented a policy of harshness and discrimination based on unscrupled racism with the intention of completing the dispossession of the Bedouins, and silencing those who protest the taking away of their lands.

The government policy is not to allow Bedouins a life of dignity. We call upon the enlightened world and its representatives in Israel, as well as international bodies, to get involved and bring to an end the dire violation of human rights and property, which is for us like genocide.

Nori el-Okbi,

Head of the Israeli Bedouin Rights Defence Association,