Israeli authorities 'try to evict dead people' from Arab village

Eviction orders were pasted in the cemetery at Al-Araqib

Israeli authorities have allegedly issued eviction orders to dead people to clear a village that has already been demolished dozens of times.

According to local charity the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF), residents found eight eviction orders in Al-Araqib’s cemetery on 21 May.

Some of the orders were issued against people who were buried there, as well as for people no longer resident in the village.

NCF campaigner Michal Rotem believes it was a mistake from outdated records.

She said: “When residents told them they are dead, they wrote on the order 'X claims that this man is dead' and pasted it anyway on the old mosque in the cemetery.

“We assume that they want to evict the people that live in the cemetery and their homes, not the graves.”

According to local laws, if officials cannot find the subject of a court order, it can be stuck on to a structure instead. 

The eviction orders allegedly posted in Al-Araqib

The village, in the Negev desert, is at the centre of an ownership dispute between Arab villagers and the local government.

While the Bedouin residents claim they have the right to remain on the land, the village is one of many that are not formally recognised and all buildings are treated as illegal.

The cemetery and mosque remained untouched in the 63 previous demolitions of the village and the latest development is worrying for its 350 residents.

They have rebuilt their homes every time, including in 2010, when crops and the water supply were also reportedly destroyed.

Sayach Al-Turi, the Sheikh of Al-Araqib, called for greater recognition for Bedouin rights to lands to help the struggle for peace and equality.

He said: “To all the Jews who believe in equality and that it is possible for Arabs and Jews to live together, mobilise in support of truth and justice and stand up for every Bedouin home that this government intends to demolish.”

The orders, issued by the Israeli Land Administration, said residents have until 12 June to leave the area on their own but Ms Rotem believes they will not comply.

The Israeli embassy did not respond to our request for a comment.