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Israeli authorities demolish mosque in unrecognized Bedouin village

‘It is infuriating to see a mosque destroyed. Those who destroy a mosque won’t have a problem destroying my children’s home.’

By Michal Rotem

Israeli police forces look on as bulldozers destroy a mosque in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhamah, January 6, 2016. (photo: Salimah Sarahin NCF/HRDN).

Israeli police forces look on as bulldozers destroy a mosque in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhamah, January 6, 2016. (photo: Salimah Sarahin NCF/HRDN).

Israeli Police officers accompanied by bulldozers destroyed a mosque Wednesday morning in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhamah in the Negev Desert.

Salima Azazma, one of the residents of the village, told +972’s Hebrew sister site, Local Call, that “It is infuriating to see a mosque be destroyed. Those who destroy a mosque won’t have a problem destroying my children’s home.”

“I am sure that these kinds of things happening in unrecognized villages will turn their residents into big supporters of Israel,” Azazma added sarcastically.

The village of Rakhama, located near the development town of Yeruham, is comprised of 1,500 residents. Some of them have lived on the land for generation, while others were moved there by the state in 1956. The village has no educational or health facilities, nor is it connected to electricity. The state has not paved any roads, nor built sewage infrastructure. The residents of the village get their water from the main pipeline that connects the development towns of Yeruham and Dimona.

On December 24, 2015, Israeli authorities destroyed the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Araqib for the 92nd time. The state does not recognize the legality of Al-Araqib and dozens of other villages, demolishing them for the purpose of reclaiming what it deems “state land.” Like Rakhama, many of these villages were established by Bedouin who were re-settled in the 1950s by Israel’s military government after being expelled from their land during the 1948 war.

While demolitions in unrecognized villages have become commonplace over the past few years, a recent report by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality revealed that 78 percent of demolitions in the Negev are actually carried out by the homeowners themselves, rather than the state. The report shows how the authorities invest resources and put immense pressure in order to increase the number of self-demolitions.

The remains of the village mosque, which was destroyed by Israeli authorities, Rahma, Negev Desert, January 6, 2015. (photo: Michal Rotem)

The remains of mosque in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhama, Negev Desert, January 6, 2015. (photo: Michal Rotem)

Over the past decade, the Israeli government has recognized 13 previously-unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. However, despite the change in policy, not much has changed much on the ground. In practice, in the vast majority of these villages still lack infrastructure; the services are poor and inadequate for the large number of residents; and the policy of house demolitions as well preventing Bedouin from receiving building permits continue.

Michal Rotem works for the Negev Forum for Coexistence and is based in Be’er Sheva. This story first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call, where she is a blogger. Read it here.

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    1. Generally, Israel denies building permits to non-Jews but, generally speaking, with notable exceptions, does (in effect) issue living-permits to non-Jews. “Live where you wish, but not in the homes you have built” seems the legal mantra.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        No one has ever claimed that you have a patent on stupidity, anti-Semitism and hate, (because your Muslim brothers on this site are no different), so I thought this link for J’lem might tell you a little bit of something called laws and procedures in Israel http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/en/Residents/CityPlanning/LicensingSupervision/Pages/BuildLicenseDept.aspx. To build in Israel, US, UK, France, etc. you require a building permit. To get the building permit, you have to meet certain conditions. Those conditions are set in stone, applies to everyone and it is extremely easy to see if there is discrimination against non-Jews in approving building permits in Israel.

        Do you have any evidence to back up your idiotic claim, you retarded racist?

        Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Sarah Kaminker, a city planner in Jerusalem for more than thirty years, describes a decades-long regime of the rankest discrimination in land use, planning, development, draconian bureaucratic measures, and what amounts to a whole bag of dirty tricks:
      “…There are literally a hundred other discriminatory practices that ruthlessly prevent Palestinians from building homes in Jerusalem. There are unjustiably huge charges for building licenses that are imposed only on Arabs…
      …The Israeli government claims that it has no choice but to punish the “scofflaws” in East Jerusalem who build illegally. If only they would ask for a license, the municipality would issue one. The government says it gets about 150 requests from Arabs each year and dutifully supplies them with building licenses. What the municipality does not tell us is that over one thousand Arabs each year ask a special team of Arab civil servants in the city engineer’s office for information about the planning regulations that apply to their land. About 150 of them have land where housing construction is permitted. These lucky few apply for and gain building licenses. The others, having been told informally that their land is not zoned for housing, never get into the data bank, allowing the municipality to continue to claim that it issues licenses to all applicants….”


      Reply to Comment