Breaking: Israeli bulldozer, soldiers destroy entire community of Beit Arabiya in West Bank

23:30 Jan 23 2012 Beit Arabiya

by Philip Weiss for Mondoweiss

A tragic night in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers accompanied a bullodozer as it destroyed all the buildings in the Bedouin community of Beit Arabiya, northeast of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

"People are somber, traumatized, and griefstricken," says Itay Epshtain of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. (ICAHD). "Nearly 100 people are out in the elements now on a cold night. Children, babies, mothers, fathers. Some of us from ICAHD did try to block the bulldozer, but we were beaten back by soldiers."

The community was first hit with a demolition order in 1994, but it has been regularly targeted by the occupation forces in recent years since ICAHD set up a facility there in an effort to protect the people.

The Bedouin community is in Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank.

Epshtain says the demolition was launched at 11:30 p.m. tonight and is part of a government policy of ethnic expulsion in Area C, aimed at forcing Bedouins into the largely-urban areas of Area A, where they will be under Palestinian Authority control.

We will keep you posted on the fate of the people of Beit Arabiya, who are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.
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