August 5, 2010

Israel demolishes homes again in Al Araqib, excavates 15 graves in historical cemetery in Jerusalem

Several Israeli units carried out the demolition in the village of Al Araqib. (Al Jazeera)

Israeli forces razed homes of Al Araqib village once again, after families rebuilt most of the houses, and arrested eight people who stood up against them, leaving hundreds homeless, witnesses and Chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Al Araqib Yousef Abu Zayed said. At the same time Israeli bulldozers were digging up 15 graves and sweeping a cemetery in the far north-eastern side of Jerusalem.
Witnesses from the village said that large forces - with bulldozers and heavy machinery backed by police forces - entered the village for the demolition of their homes that have been rebuilt.

Israeli authorities have raided and destroyed the village last week, and deported some of its inhabitants. Villagers rebuilt parts of the village again, before occupation forces razed it again on Wednesday.

Al Araqib is one of 45 Arab villages in the Negev that Israel does not recognize.

It is noteworthy that the Negev is about 40% of historic Palestine, an area of 12 thousand and 577 km2, and home to nearly two hundred thousand Arabs. Israel is trying to concentrate them in seven communities that became centers of unemployment and poverty, and are more like refugee camps.

"They are trying to move us all onto reservations," said a villager, referring to the seven communities. "But there is no economy there, no jobs, no place for agriculture."

Villagers pray near their ruined homes after Israeli authorities demolished buildings in Al Araqib village. (Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images)

Demolition of graves:

On the other hand, the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage confirmed that bulldozers and heavy machinery of the occupation forces dug up and destroyed 15 graves in a historical cemetery north-east of Jerusalem.

In a statement, the organization said that the process of excavation has been following maintenance and
reconstruction in the cemetery, and that the cemetery is under continuous attacks and violations.



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