A week after the unrecognized Beduin settlement was leveled in an operation secured by over 1,300 police officers, bulldozers returned on Wednesday to Kafr al-Arakib to demolish structures that residents had rebuilt.

During the demolitions, which were carried out by the Israel Lands Administration and secured by a large contingent of YASAM riot police, Arab MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List–Ta’al) holed-up inside one of the buildings in a vain attempt to prevent its demolition.

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Sanaa passed out at the scene and was rushed to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, where he soon recovered.

Before passing out, Sanaa stated that government actions like Wednesday’s demolitions “will lead to a popular uprising [intifada].”

Police said on Wednesday the demolitions had been carried out after “a group of locals decided to trample over the law and a court order, and build illegal buildings at this location.”

Gadi Algazi, an activist with the organization “Tarabut- Hit’chabrut” (Arab-Jewish Movement for Social and Political Change) said a large contingent of police began arriving at around 8:45 a.m. to carry out the demolition. Algazi said that, as opposed to last week, there was only a small number of Israeli-Jewish activists at the site, mainly due to the fact that police turned away a large number on their way to the village on Wednesday morning.

Algazi said the most recent round of demolitions would be met with more construction.

“The residents will rebuild. I left the village at 2 p.m. and by then two tents were already rebuilt. They will build again.”

Omer council head Pini Badash called on Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein to bring charges against Sanaa for “blatant disregard of Israeli law.” Omer is an upscale suburb of Beersheba near a number of Beduin settlements.

Badash spokesman Nir Nissim told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Sanaa behaved as though he believed “the laws of the State of Israel don’t apply to him” “In a democratic state, there can’t be a situation where a public leader is above the law,” Nissim said. He added that Badash would like to see the Knesset withdraw Sanaa’s parliamentary immunity, much like it did with Balad MK Haneen Zoabi for taking part in May’s Gaza flotilla.

Following last week’s demolitions Kafr al-Arakib, the Israel Lands Administration issued a statement saying residents had first “invaded” the area in 1998 and were soon expelled before returning a year later.


The ILA said residents had been offered the possibility of renting the land for agricultural purposes at the price of NIS 2 per dunam (0.1 hectare), but “they refused to pay and continued to infiltrate the land year after year.”

Tens of thousands of illegal structures have been built in Beduin communities, and new ones are built far quicker than the state can demolish them.

On Wednesday night, dozens of demonstrators gathered in central Tel Aviv to protest against the demolitions and show solidarity with the residents of the village. Similar protests were held in Jerusalem and Beersheba on Wednesday night.

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