Israel razes 47 Palestinian homes in the Negev desert, attacks West Bank towns

Israel razes 47 Palestinian homes in the Negev desert, attacks West Bank towns
Israeli forces have razed 47 Bedouin homes in the Negev desert and attacked several towns in the West Bank, detaining Palestinians.
3 min read
08 May, 2024
In recent years, Israel has demolished numerous Bedouin homes in the Negev [Getty/file photo]

Israeli forces raided and demolished the homes of Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel in the Negev desert on Wednesday, displacing several families.

At least 47 homes were destroyed in the region’s Hebron Valley, in southern Israel where a heavy police presence prevented protesters and residents from accessing their properties.

In recent years, Israel has demolished numerous Bedouin homes in the Negev, claiming they were illegally constructed, despite these families having lived there for generations and the near impossibility for Palestinians to obtain planning permission.

Videos shared online showed the homes being razed.

Palestinians in the Negev have been the frequent target of discriminatory policies for years, with only 11,000 Bedouins today living in the desert region, despite its previous population of 92,000 before the creation of Israel in 1948.

Around half of Israel's 300,000 Bedouin population live in towns and villages not recognised by Israel, with homes, schools and even graveyards frequently levelled by the state.

The home of the sole serious injury of Iran's April strikes on Israel - seven-year-old Bedouin Amina Hassouna - was due to be demolished until a popular backlash.

West Bank raids

Separately in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces stormed several towns at dawn and detained residents, in a continued violent crackdown in the territory.

Soldiers "raided and searched homes in the city of Hebron, arresting at least five civilians" amid confrontations with Palestinian residents, Anadolu Agency quoted eyewitnesses as saying.

The Aqabat Jabr camp near Jericho was also attacked, as well as neighbourhoods in the city of Nablus and the town of Ya'bad.

Clashes also broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Al-Am'ari camp near the town of Al-Bireh, where Israeli soldiers used live bullets and gas bombs, eyewitnesses said. No deaths were reported.

Israel has unleashed a relentless campaign against the West Bank in parallel with the seven-month war on Gaza. Deadly raids and mass arrests were already taking place prior to that but have picked up since the offensive began.

In the West Bank, at least 497 Palestinians have been killed, 8,610 detained, and around 5,000 others wounded since 7 October, according to the Palestinian health ministry as of Tuesday evening.

The casualties and detentions include minors.

Late last month, the US said it concluded that five Israeli security force units committed serious human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank before the start of the Gaza war.

Israeli settler attacks have also escalated, as some of Israel’s closest allies have warned it is not doing enough to curb the violence. Some settlers have been sanctioned by Western countries.

Israel has continued to expand its settlements in the occupied territory, despite this being illegal under international law.