NAQAB, Thursday, February 02, 2023 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities today demolished a Palestinian house in Umm Batin village in southern Israeli region of Naqab, according to witnesses.
They said that Israeli police, accompanying bulldozers, broke into the unrecognized village, where the heavy machinery knocked down the house of a member of the Abu Kaff clan, leveled other villagers’ tract of land and uprooted their trees.
Meanwhile, the police forced barged its way into Tahiyya, another unrecognized village, north of Rahat city, where the bulldozers razed a tract of cultivated land belonging to the Hazil clan.
Some 300,000 Palestinian Bedouins, who hold Israeli citizenship, live in the Naqab region, which makes up about half of the entire landmass of historic Palestine.
More than 90,000 of them live in at least 35 Israeli-deemed “unrecognized” villages under threat of demolition, with the state viewing them as “trespassers”.
In 2019, Israeli authorities announced a plan to forcibly transfer 36,000 residents in unrecognized villages to other townships.
In January 2022, Palestinians of the Naqab held protests demanding the immediate release of some 150 Palestinian citizens of Israel who were detained over their participation in demonstrations against the razing of the lands of their families as part of an “afforestation” activities of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), primarily in the village Sa'wa Al-Atrash.
The Israeli authorities, primarily the Israeli Land Authority, allocated some 1,300 donums of land belonging to the Hazil clan to JNF despite the fact that the clan has title deeds proving their ownership of the land and its use for crop cultivation by the clan.
The JNF and the Israel Lands Authority are planting forests in the Naqab “to displace Bedouins, viewed as ‘trespassers,’ from their lands,” according to Adalah, a group that advocates for the rights of Palestinians in Israel.
“This is racial discrimination par excellence,” Adalah added.
The violent police crackdown and “afforestation” campaigns recently prompted Nearly 2,500 Americans have signed a petition calling on US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to intervene to stop the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian citizens of Al-Naqab.
Israeli authorities have refused to connect the majority of unrecognized villages to the national electricity or water grids and do not provide them with basic services, such as paved roads and sewage systems.
Since 1948, the Jewish National Fund has planted hundreds of millions of predominantly European conifer trees on the remains of Palestinian villages depopulated in 1948 and 1967 to erase their existence and prevent their residents from returning.
While boasting that its tree planting helps mitigate climate change, in reality the European pines and cypress tree species have fueled forest fires exacerbated by dryer conditions.