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Tue Feb 1, Jerusalem: Demonstration in front of JNF HQ (Al-Arakib!)
The village of Al Arakib has existed for 80 years. In the early 1950`s the new Israeli state requested of the residents to leave their village temporarily, promising that they will be allowed to return to the village in six months. This promise was never fulfilled. In the beginning of the 1990`s the village residents and their descendants decided to return to their lands and to make good on the promise that was made to them. Since then the Israeli government has been using different means to try to expel them again. Among the more outrageous attempts included sending airplanes to blanket the residents` wheat fields with toxic pesticides meant for weeds. After the High Court of Justice ruled that this method comprises a risk to health and human life, the government ceased using this method and began using tractors to uproot the young wheat sprouts.

After the authorities realized that the Al Arakib residents were holding steadfast to their land and are not giving up, the government sent hundreds of heavily armed police and bulldozers to destroy the village and expel the residents by force. The first demolition was committed on the 27th of July, 2010, in which an entire fully populated village, including its houses, barns, orchards, and animal houses, was destroyed.

The residents returned and built dwellings for themselves, and the authorities returned and destroyed these eight times. After the second demolition Sheikh Sayah Al-Touri, the leader of the village, was exiled from the village and was forbidden from entering its lands. Al Turi was forced to dwell in the village`s cemetery. From this cemetery Sheikh Al-Touri sent a message of peace and reconciliation to the residents of Israel, where he explained why the Bedouins are not invaders, and called on the government to cease the demolitions.

On Sunday, January 16th, 2011, the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) accompanied by a heavy police presence destroyed the Bedouin village of Al Arakib for the 9th time since its total destruction in July 2010. During the village`s destruction the police forces used large amounts of violent force, including sponge bullets (a police method of crowd dispersal) which injured eleven of the residents, one of them in his eye. This time it seems that the ILA has decided to expel the residents once and for all.

Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet Le`Israel) employees immediately started preparing the ground for planting trees. JNF, an international body, acts as a de-facto Israeli government agent which is not accountable to the Israeli public. JNF controls huge swaths of open land and forest, which it plants and distributes according to racist criteria that exclude non-Jews and especially Palestinian citizens of Israel. Much of JNF`s vaunted `green forests` were in fact planted to obscure the destruction of Palestinian villages during the Nakba, and to prevent their return.

Nowadays in Al-Arakib, the hands executing the policy might be the ILA and police, but the directions come from JNF, which is dominated by right-wing ideologues in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.

Al-Arakib has existed before Israel became a state. Now, the women, men and children living there on their own land are called `invaders` by those who wish to destroy their lives and prevent their return by planting trees? We shall not let this pass!

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COME DEMONSTRATE
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Where: in front of JNF Headquarters, 48 King George St., Jerusalem
When: Tuesday February 1, 2:30 PM

Transportation: Tel Aviv, 1 PM at Sixt lot near Central Train Station.
Register at phones 052-6886867. 050-5733276

For organizational information and to join the preparations: Awwad 052-2714020. Hassan 052-5393416. Michal 050-9391299 . Arik 050-5607034
Muhasen 050-9787894. Silan 054-7958143. . Michal 052-6886867 Yaakov 050-5733276.

Email: tarabut@gmail.com manor12@zahav.net.il

Sponsored by: The High Committee of Israel`s Arabs, The Al-Arakib Popular Committee, Al-Arakib Village Council,Du-Kium Negev Coexistence Forum, Tarabut-Hit`habrut, Women`s Coalition for Peace, Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity, Balad Party, Hadash Party, Hakara - Recognition Forum, Rabbis for Human Rights.

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