‘WE WILL REBUILD’ – Bedouin villagers defy Israeli bulldozers and demolition

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Israel’s Civil Administration on Tuesday demolished a Bedouin village for the fourth time.

The Al-Araqib village was razed two weeks ago for the third time, after residents rebuilt dwellings demolished to make way for a ‘Jewish National Fund park’.

The Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel decided that they would help rebuild the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib and after each of the attempts to wipe the village out by the Zionists, the village was rebuilt.

Locals said following the fourth demolition of the village, that they were determined to rebuild their homes.

Palestinian-Israeli Knesset member Taleb As-Sana denounced the demolitions during Ramadan, describing them as inhumane.

He added that razing the homes of the Bedouin residents repeatedly was ‘a declaration of war’ against the Negev inhabitants and would only create violence.

As-Sana said the residents of Al-Araqib will rebuild their homes in spite of Israel’s demolition, and cited the village as an example of Palestinian steadfastness.

The Zionist forces first attempted to wipe the village out on the 27 July.

All 40 homes in the Al-Araqib village were destroyed and 300 residents were evicted during the raid after an Israeli court deemed the village illegally built on state land.

The Bedouin residents say they have proof of land ownership, and have been in court for several years.

Local activists said that at least 200 children were left homeless as a result, as police removed residents property into prepared containers, and bulldozers razed buildings and sheepfolds.

Fruit orchards and olive grove trees were destroyed in the process.

Israeli activists who were present at the demolition described the move as an ‘act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy.’

• Gaza’s Ministry of Health has announced that a Qatar Charity has donated $118,500 to supply fuel for generators in Gaza’s hospitals.

Bassam Barhoum, who heads the administrative services unit in the Gaza Health Ministry said: ‘The Qatari donation will cover 300,000 litres of diesel, which can run hospital generators for up to 20 days’.

Barhoum said fuel consumption in hospitals and health centres in Gaza has increased because of continuous power cuts, resulting from an ongoing fuel shortage.

Gaza Health Minister Basim Na’im applauded the move, and said the Qatar Charity was one of the major foundations funding health-related projects in Palestine.

Director of the ministry’s Arab relations department, Wissam Abu Shammala, said the ministry sent emergency relief calls to several donors, after Gaza hospitals declared a state of emergency two weeks ago as the sole power station was forced to shut down.

Director of ambulance and emergency services Muawiya Hassanein warned of a potential humanitarian disaster as a result of the blackout.

Hassanein said: ‘The health care sector relies on generators.

‘If their power gets cut off for even five minutes, it could lead to dozens of deaths, including children and patients in critical condition in the operating room’.

The power cuts are due to the power plant being shut down due to a shortage of fuel.

This is the third time the power plant has been forced to close due to fuel shortage this year.

• The Popular Resistance Committee’s military wing the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades has claimed responsibility for firing five mortar shells toward the western Negev last Tuesday injuring two Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli army said the two soldiers were lightly injured by the mortar shells and that the force opened fire ‘at the source of the launches’.

Meanwhile a Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in clashes on the Gaza border.

Soldiers opened fire on a group of Palestinians east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, killing one Palestinian, who locals identified as Bassem Barham Ad-Dagma.

An Israeli army spokesman accused the group of planting explosive devices close to the electronic fence, adding that one soldier was injured by retaliatory fire.

• Unemployment rates amongst Palestinians are soaring with the highest in the Tulkarem district in the West Bank and the Deir Al-Balah district in Gaza.

A report issued this week by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) show the unemployment figures between April and June 2010.

The second quarter figures show that the Gaza district with the highest unemployment rate was Deir Al-Balah at 43.3 per cent, followed by northern Gaza at 41.1 per cent, then Khan Younis at 40.7 per cent.

In the West Bank, unemployment in Tulkarem was the highest at 21.3 per cent, followed by Qalqiliya at 19 per cent.

Jerusalem had the lowest unemployment rate of all the West Bank districts at 9.7 per cent.

PCBS results showed that the unemployment rate was concentrated among Palestinians aged 15 to 29.

Palestinians aged between 20 to 24 were the most affected, with an unemployment rate of 39.4 per cent, of which 24.9 per cent are West Bank residents and 66 per cent are Gaza Strip residents.

The rate of unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 19 was 32.9 per cent, of which 22.6 per cent are in the West Bank and 72 per cent are in Gaza.

The group aged between 25 to 29 had an unemployment rate of 29.1 per cent, of which 21.7 per cent were in the West Bank and 41.1 per cent in Gaza.

Women, however, have been the most affected by unemployment.

51.7 per cent of women aged between 20 to 24 were not in employment, compared with 39.4 per cent for their male counterparts while women aged 25 to 29 were unemployed at a rate of 41.5 per cent compared with 29.1 per cent.

• A Palestinian father says Israel has denied him a permit to visit his wife and newborn triplets in a Jerusalem hospital.

Safi Abdul Hamid Al-Tamimi said his wife gave birth five days ago in Al-Makassed Hospital, where she was transferred from Ramallah due to complications during labour.

Israeli soldiers stopped Al-Tamimi at Qalandiya checkpoint, which separates the two cities, and refused to allow him to accompany his wife, who was in labour at the time, because he did not have a permit to enter Jerusalem.

He has since tried to get a permit but been rejected without explanation.