All the forms of oppression against Palestinians inside Israel are intensified in the case of the Bedouin, most of whom live in the large semi-desert expanse of the Negev (Naqab). After mass expulsions by Israel in the 1940s and 1950s to rid the Negev of its Bedouin, their numbers have slowly recovered, renewing Israeli concerns about how to stop the Bedouin “demographic timebomb”. About 200,000 Bedouin are to be found in Negev: half have been corralled into half a dozen deprived townships built, according to official terminology, to “concentrate” a population seen as “scattered”; while the rest hold out in rural communities the state characterises as “unrecognised”.
The unrecognised villages are denied all services and the homes there are subject to automatic demolition. The villagers, who face constant harassment from the security services, often live in tents or shacks because more permanent dwellings would be certain to be destroyed by the authorities.
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