Palestinians additionally take inspiration from Black Lives Matter, and I requested if that had prompted Mr. Tasama to attract any comparisons between his wrestle and theirs. He mentioned he hadn’t actually thought of it.

The truth is, his seek for belonging had maybe pushed him in the other way: What finally sustains him, he mentioned, is his connection, as a Jew, to this land.

“It’s our proper to be right here,” he mentioned. “That is the place that God gave us.”

The police knew the place, although. They arrived an hour after we did, in a convoy of 5 police vehicles and a truck carrying two bulldozers, sending the villagers’ horses cantering into the desert. Mendacity on the sand underneath a tree, fiddling along with his prayer beads, the growing old village sheikh sprang to his ft, shouting at his son to chase the police.

“Take their pictures!” he yelled.

It was a futile gesture. The police had demolished components of the village 191 occasions since 2010, according to a rights watchdog; a digicam had by no means deterred them. This time, their bulldozers knocked down two tents, then left as shortly as that they had come.

“That was quantity 192,” mentioned Aziz al-Turi, the sheikh’s son.

The al-Turi household is descended from Bedouin Arab nomads who crisscrossed the area for hundreds of years, and later settled within the Negev earlier than Israel was based.

Israel says that many of the Bedouins haven’t any proper to the land, since their possession claims have been by no means recorded in Ottoman-era land registries. For many years, the federal government has been making an attempt to maneuver greater than 30 Bedouin communities from their conventional grazing grounds within the Negev into seven purpose-built cities.

Probably the most outstanding holdout is Araqib. Residents confirmed us copies of a purchase order doc that they are saying proves they purchased the land from one other tribe in 1905. The state says the Ottomans by no means documented the sale.