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Bedouin under attack from Sinai to Hebron

Physicians for Human Rights — Israel

At Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, local Bedouin families are emptying their homes, loading belongings into vans as soldiers look on from armored cars. At eight border villages, 680 houses—homes to 1,165 families—are being demolished to create a "security zone." Residents were ordered to evacuate on 48 hours notice. Some monetary compensation is being offered, but no provisions for new housing have been made, and landlords are jacking up rents in the Sinai in response to the sudden demand. Dynamite as well as bulldozers is being used to demolish the villages. The operation will result in a buffer 13.5 kilometers long and 500 meters wide. But some Bedouin pledge to resist relocation. A woman at Ibshar village said: "I'm not leaving my house even if they kill me. I was born and raised in this house. If they want the terrorists, they know where they are. There’s no need to force us from our homes." (Middle East Eye, Nov. 6; Reuters, Nov. 5)

On Oct. 29, Israeli forces used a bulldozer to demolish four structures in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Daraj in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank. Residents were reportedly assaulted by Israeli soldiers and border police while they tried to peacefully stop the demolition of their property. Israeli forces declared the village a closed military area, barring international volunteers who arrived to monitor the demolition. The nearby Bedouin village of Umm al-Khair was also invaded, and a traditional oven destroyed. The two villages are in Area C, under Israeli civil and military administration, near the Israeli settlement of Karmel, and have been subject to repeated harassment by the military and settlers alike. (IMEMC, Oct. 31; WAFA, Oct. 30)

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