BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished a mosque under construction in the Bedouin village of Wadi al-Niam near Beersheba, locals said. Heavily guarded bulldozers entered the village accompanied by dozens of Israeli police officers from the southern command and demolished the foundation of the mosque. Labbad Abu Affash, a local committee chief, told Ma’an that Israeli forces demolish part of a home or other structure in the village every week.
In some cases, families demolish their own houses to avoid paying the heavy fines imposed by Israel. “There has been a vicious crackdown against our village in an attempt to force us to move to the town of Shaqib al-Salam instead of recognizing our village which is home to 14,000,” Abu Affash said. Wadi al-Niam is not recognized by the Israeli state and so lacks all basic services such as water.
A toxic dump and military firing zone have also been built in the area where the community lives. It is among some 40 Negev villages that Israeli authorities have deemed unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in them cannot prove land ownership. Some 100 homes in unrecognized villages have been demolished since the beginning of 2015, while Israeli authorities have issued demolition notices to hundreds of others.