Saturday, July 31 2010 A Solidarity Visit and Work Day in El-Arakib

On Saturday we went on a solidarity visit and work day in El-Arakib.  This unrecognized village north of Beer Sheva was demolished to its foundation four days before.  Eye witness accounts of the demolition can be found here and here; the village was razed in order to plant a JNF forest.  When we arrived in the village it seemed like the a parking lot at the seashore, full of the buses and cars which had brought the hundreds of activists from all corners of the country, those who came to help and to convey the message that they will not stand silently in the face of a policy which casts men, women and children out of their homes in the name of a fake forest, which is in any case inappropriate in the landscape.

We worked for a number of hours under the blazing Negev sun, removing trees and rubble from the earlier demolition, planting trees and raising roof beams for new buildings.  At the same time an activity was organized for the children of El-Arakib, who painted pictures on long pieces of frabric which were hung on the walls of the central tent which serves, for the moment, the residents of the village.

The residents of El-Arakib were very happy to see so many supporters.  As they said, the presence of people who can see with their own eyes the damage the state did to their village is more important to them than any practical aid.  These same people, only a few hours after the destruction of their homes, were worried not about a roof over their heads, but rather about the question of how to educate their children about the importance of coexistence in this situation of demolitions and abuse by the state.

Painfully, only a few days after the solidarity visit, the village was razed again.

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