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100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions

12:00 Feb 8 2017 Wadi al-Na'am

100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions 100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions 100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions
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Scenes. Published by Maan News
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NEGEV (Ma’an) -- In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran.

Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished a house in the village of Wadi al-Naam in the western part of the Negev in southern Israel.

Locals told Ma’an that the demolished house was owned by an elderly woman and her daughter. A member of the local committee, Yousif Ziyadin, said that an emergency session would be held to discuss the Israeli demolition.

A relative of the elderly homeowner, Ahmad Zanoun, told Ma’an that 100-year-old Ghaytha Zanoun and her 60-year-old daughter Hilala were living in the house, both of whom suffer from various health issues.

Zanoun said that both Ghaytha and Hilala were unable to walk, and noted that the family had renovated the home in accordance with their doctor’s suggestions due to their health conditions.

He added that Ghaytha and her daughter now were homeless following the demolition.

The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that established the state of Israel. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel's military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

In July, the Israeli government approved plans to build townships for Israel’s Bedouin community. The planned township is expected to be built just south of Shaqib al-Salam, another Bedouin township, and would transfer at least 7,000 Bedouins from the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Naam, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last year.

The approved village would comprise of an area of approximately 9,000 dunams (2,224 acres), while providing housing to some 9,000 residents, The Times of Israel also reported.

The proposal to expand the area of Shaqib al-Salam was challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court in 2015, as the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), who assisted in the court proceedings, argued that any expansion of the town would be followed by the forcible removal of Bedouins from unrecognized villages, particularly from Wadi al-Naam.

Yaron Kelner, spokesperson for ACRI, confirmed to Ma’an on Wednesday that residents of Wadi al-Naam have continued to refuse the relocation deal.
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