This morning in the Naqab (Negev) in southern Israel, the entire village of Tawil was bulldozed by the government. The rationale given was that the village was “unrecognized” and therefore is not permitted to exist. The real reason was that the village was comprised of Palestinian Arab Bedouin, and therefore Israel does not want it to exist. The homes and livelihoods destroyed so simply and callously were certainly very real and recognized by their now homeless owners.
Israel claims to not “recognize” dozens of Bedouin villages in the Naqab and elsewhere (even though many existed before Israel itself), thereby absolving it of the responsibility to provide the villages with public services such as water, and permitting Israel to destroy said villages at its leisure. Maan News reports plans to demolish 42,000 homes built in these “unrecognized” areas.
Such activity by Israel is reminiscent of the Nakba, when in 1947-1949, Zionist then Israeli forces systematically destroyed and/or depopulated more than 450 Palestinian villages, creating at least 750,000 refugees.
And like the Nakba, Israel has plans to “develop” the Naqab once it is cleansed of the Palestinians – a plan endorsed by George Bush in his 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon. “Negev 2015” includes plans to build new housing communities and farms for Jews only, at a cost of $4 billion. It goes without saying that there is nothing in these plans that will benefit the Bedouin inhabitants of the area, if there are any left.