'Deaths of Bedouin children could have been avoided'

NGO slams authorities for not halting Bedouin thievery, says explosives should not have been in children's home.

Chana Roberts,

Explosion (illustration)
Explosion (illustration)
Thinkstock

The Regavim Organization on Wednesday called on law enforcement authorities to prevent future tragedies by taking immediate action to prevent the Bedouin community from stealing munitions from IDF bases. The theft of IDF equipment and of livestock from Jewish farms is an uncontrolled scourge in areas near Bedouin communities

On Tuesday, two Bedouin children aged 8 and 10 were killed in an explosion in the illegal Negev village of Al-Zarnuk, near Be'er Sheva.

Initial police reports indicate the two children were handling some sort of explosive device when it accidentally detonated, killing them both.

Police were clear that the incident was not a gas explosion or another type of home accident.

Regavim Policy and Knesset Affairs Director Meir Deutch said, "For years our organization has been monitoring incidents in which Bedouin steal all types of materials from IDF bases in the Negev, in order to sell them to make money."

"We have repeatedly warned officials of this illegal activity, hoping to prevent the type of tragedy we witnessed yesterday.

"Hopefully now, unfortunately with the snuffing out of two young lives, action will be taken to prevent the next senseless deaths or injuries."

Deutch noted that Regavim had previously filed a petition stating Al-Zarnuk was built illegally on private Jewish land. Its residents, the petition states, should therefore be relocated to a legal town.

However, this petition was denied by the Supreme Court.

"If the residents were living in a recognized town with proper facilities, education, and law enforcement, chances are these kids would have been playing at the playground, and wouldn't have been messing around with explosives," Deutch pointed out.

Though the Israeli government regularly destroys Jewish homes regardless of whether there is actual proof of Arab ownership, Israel's Arabs steal land by the dunam while authorities remain silent or the Supreme Court rules in their favor- even if the construction endangers Jewish lives. Now Bedouin children have paid the price of illegal construction.








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