Monday, November 12, 2012
Israeli police teargas school in Bedouin village: 29 children wounded
Some 2000 people from Bir Hadaj demonstrated in Beer Sheba om 18 October against house demolitions.
Israeli police stormed a school in a Bedouin village in the southern Negev desert on Monday, firing tear gas and bullets and causing 29 children to be taken to hospital. The incident occurred early in the morning at the village of Bir Hadaj, village council head Salman Abu Hamid told AFP.
"Forces from the interior ministry accompanied by police... entered the village to distribute demolition orders for homes, which led to clashes and stonethrowing," said Abu Hamid.
"The police used live and rubber bullets, and tear gas and stormed the school, injuring 29 students between the ages of eight and 12, who were taken to Soroka hospital."
A spokeswoman for Soroka medical centre in the southern city of Beersheva confirmed to AFP that "29 students suspected of tear gas inhalation were admitted to the hospital, treated and discharged."
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed there were clashes in the village, with youths throwing stones and burning tyres, but denied police had entered the school. "The police activity was about 300 metres from the school grounds," she said.
It is not the first time Bir Hadaj is in the news. Some 2.000 people form the village held a demonstration on 18 October in front of government offices in Beer Sheba. That was in protest against a raid a week earlier, when representatives of the Jewish National Fund and a special police unit known as Yassam, Israeli interior ministry officials, raided Bir Hadaj at 9.30am on Thursday 11 October. The officials then handed out demolition orders against four houses, according to eyewitnesses.
A Palestinian Bedouin village located in the north-western Naqab (Negev) desert, Bir Hadaj was “recognized” by the Israeli government in 2004 after a daunting legal and popular struggle.
Under the jurisdiction of the Abu Basma Regional Council, Bir Hadaj is the largest village in the Abu Basma district, with a population of over 5,000. Despite formal recognition, Bir Haddaj hasn’t been spared the home demolition woes which haunt hundreds of “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Naqab.