Israel is suing a group of poor Bedouin Palestinians in the Negev desert for over $500,000, the claimed costs of demolishing their village each time they rebuild it. Israeli authorities have destroyed, and the Bedouin have rebuilt, the homes in al-Araqib more than 20 times.
In a statement issued by the Israeli government, the civil lawsuit was launched to “reclaim” the “heavy costs to the state” which includes heavy equipment and police security for each demolition. But the Bedouin remain defiant, promising to continue to rebuild their makeshift homes and refusing to pay the Israeli state for their own oppression.
The Bedouins aren’t the only ones being asked to pay for this kind of subjugation, as American taxpayers are slated to send Israel $3.075 billion in fiscal year 2012, an amount that has not been reduced despite budgetary cutbacks. President Obama and Congress are adhering to a deal made by former President George W. Bush and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to send $30 billion to Israel over the course of 10 years, starting in 2007. Despite a severe financial crisis and concerns about federal debt, aid to Israel passes with little dissent.
The other piece of American support for Israel’s policies against Palestinians is diplomatic commitments. Palestine’s historic application for membership status at the United Nations, scheduled for a vote in September, will be opposed by the United States, despite the expressed support of over 120 nations.
With both aid and dedicated diplomatic support, Israel may continue to be able to demolish the homes of Palestinians and perhaps even make a habit out of charging reimbursement fees for such treatment.