About Us

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Al-Araqib demolished for tenth time to make way for JNF tree planting.

Sunday 16 January 2011

from Karen Douglas -Resource Development Coordinator
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality

Just before 9am this morning, the bulldozers and police force returned to Al
 Arakib to once again level it to the ground. This time, however, in order to
 cleanse the land of any indication that people once lived there, everything
 is being removed and dumped in the tip. No building materials or personal
 items will remain for the residents to salvage and rebuild the village.
 Again there was no opportunity for the families to rescue their belongings
 before the demolition started. Additionally it is thought that a few of the
 men were away in Rahat in mourning for a recent death in the community.

 The bulldozers and lorries are still in Al Arakib as I send this email as
 there are many hours of work ahead of them to remove everything demolished.
 The area is being flatten by bulldozers and heavy earth moving machinery to
 remove any trace of the village and a new road for JNF's forestation
 activists is being prepared. We suspect that these measures are being taken
 now ahead of Tubishvat on Thursday when many JNF volunteers are expected to
 be in the area planting trees. Removing the mangled mess makes certain that
 no awkward questions will be asked by JNF volunteers or dampen their
 The police did not allow Haia to enter village this morning, however, she
 has meet with the residents. She reported to me that she has never seen the
 women as traumatised as they are this morning. The only blessing is that the
 children had already left for school for the day so did not have to witness,
 yet again, the complete destruction of their homes.
 We will keep you informed of further developments.

This morning saw the bulldozers and trucks return to Al Arakib to not only continue removing the debris from yesterday's demolitions but to flatten the temporary structures that the residents had erected quickly last night to protect the families from the wintry desert conditions. It was necessary to purchase all the materials as nothing was salvageable from the piles of debris which had not yet been cleared away.

All of the residents and activists who arrived this morning to support the residents, including NCF Director Haia, have been concentrated into Al Arakib's cemetery. At present police are preventing anyone from leaving this location and identification documents have been confiscated.

The road into Al Arakib has also been closed to prevent further supporters from arriving throughout the day.

Dr. Awad Abu-Farikh who was arrested yesterday has now been released and we are still trying to find out about the other two residents who were arrested.

I also draw your attention to yesterday's ynet article <,7340,L-4014318,00.html>  in Hebrew in which the Israel Lands Administration Development Director Shlomo Tsizer is quoted as saying, "We are making an effort to find a final solution to what is happening in Al Arakib'. Tsizer also reports that the area is being prepared for planting which directly implicates the Jewish National Fund in the ongoing attacks on Al Arakib.

I'm attaching some photos from yesterday.

 Today - Monday Jan. 17
El Arakiv was destroyed for the tenth time. This time the destroyers
even took the rubbish with them in order not to leave "building materials" to the "residents". Also  yesterday and today 11 activistis were arrested including Haia Noach, the Director of the
 Negev Coexistence Forum, Mumtaz Khateeb, Amoz Gvirtz, Gadi Elgazi, and activists of the Negev Coexistence Forum,
 the Recognition Forum and local residents. All arrested are at the police station in Rahat, and efforts are underway
 to get their release from the Beer Sheva Court. We will try and inform you as soon as
 possible when we get more details about the arrests.
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality

Photos by
Silvia Boarini
m.+44(0)7870330737 <>