RAMALLAH, March 5 (JMCC) - The Negev village of Arakib has been demolished 18 times to make way for a reforestation project being funded by Christian Zionists, reports
Struggling to hold on to their land by repeatedly rebuilding makeshift homes, the Bedouin
residents of Arakib stand in the way of the planting of a forest paid for by God TV.
Since 27 July, the village has been demolished at least 18 times, most recently last Thursday. Each time the bulldozers and soldiers come at dawn to tear down the makeshift structures that have replaced the 40 concrete buildings that used to house the villagers, the men of al-Arakib rebuild them. Each time their footprint gets a little smaller.
Although the villagers say they have deeds to the land proving ownership since 1906, al-Arakib is unrecognised – meaning the state of Israel regards its very existence as illegitimate. Israel declared the land state property shortly after the 1948 war, and in recent years has accelerated efforts to drive the Bedouin into designated townships.
The villagers stand in the way of a government-backed JNF project to encourage Jewish settlement in the sparsely populated Negev and create a forest by planting half a million trees paid for by God TV. Launched in the UK in 1995 but now broadcasting globally from Jerusalem, God TV is part of a Christian Zionist movement that believes the Jews must return to the Holy Land as a pre-requisite of the Second Coming of Christ. In videos posted on its website, founder Rory Alec speaks of an instruction from God to prepare the land for return of my Son. He takes supporters to the Negev to plant saplings and urges others to make donations to fund the trees the TV channel has pledged to supply.