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Temporary shacks built by the Bedouin in al-Arakib were demolished by the state and rebuilt on more than 10 occasions, the last in 2010, and last year the state filed a NIS 1.8 million lawsuit against two Beduin families over the issue.

During the al-Uqbi lawsuit, both the state and the Bedouin brought extensive expert testimonies, pitting the country’s most prominent experts in historical and political geography against each other. Oren Yiftachel, one of the country’s foremost geographers and social scientists, gave expert testimony. Ruth Kark, a leading expert on the historical geography of Palestine and Israel from the Hebrew University.

Those inside these zones of occupation pleaded over the years for help. And once they burst through these barriers, enraged, bloodied, bent on revenge, we recoiled in horror, unable to see our complicity. Sometimes we turn to look at it, as if it is a presence in the room, someone who should be offered sweet tea or a glass or water or asked to leave. Once the wall went up, the family’s car parts business was wiped out. Auynaf’s husband makes less than 10% of what he once earned. Next Page: The barrier is the most catastrophic blow to the Palestinians since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.To understand the role of this barrier is to begin to understand the rage it has now unleashed. Now I never leave.” The wall reduces her world to its ugly perimeter. He must stand in line, often for several hours, to go in and out. He is trying to salvage his business, but it cannot go on like this. She saw an Israeli soldier in his green uniform standing on top of the earthen mound on the Israeli side of the wall, the mound the army drives jeeps up to peer down on those below. She thinks he was a Druze, the tiny, nominally Muslim sect that lives near the border with Syria and serves in the Israeli army and border police. Understanding is not excusing, but until we grasp that these militants do not come from another moral universe, until we face our own complicity in their creation and the awful violence now underway in Lebanon and the occupied territories, we cannot begin to understand the gross injustices that fuel these militant movements. She goes out on her second-floor balcony every morning and looks at it. The first fixed settlement had been Beersheba, she said, which the Ottomans founded in 1900 and which is 11 kilometers from al- Arakib – refuting the Bedouin’ claims that the land could not have been Mawat because it was both cultivated and next to a settlement.They also contended that the Ottoman, and later the British, authorities had granted legal autonomy to the Negev Bedouin to organize land ownership according to Bedouin law, which is why it was not registered as theirs in the Tabu.

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