A new book released recently has unveiled another crime that the Israeli soldiers had committed against the Negev Bedouin in 1972.Haaretz daily Wednesday reported that the crime was committed by Ariel Sharon, who was then Head of Southern Command.The story was published for the first time last month in “Arik,” a new biography of Ariel Sharon, written by former Haaretz editor-in-chief, David Landau.The book revealed that Sharon ordered the expulsion of 3,000 civilians, members of two Bedouin tribes whose encampments and grazing grounds were in a military exercise area. The expulsion took place without warning, during a freezing desert cold snap, without granting any time to the Bedouin to take out their belongings, causing around 40 deaths, mainly of children, small babies and old people.The book revealed that the expulsion took place during a six-day secret military operation in Sinai, where an entire armored division had to cross a large water body that was an obstacle.The military drill was called Exercise “Oz,”which aimed at strengthening the Israeli strategy that envisaged crossing the Suez Canal and fighting on the Egyptian side if war was to break out again in the Sinai Peninsula.The military exercise took six days, beginning on February 20, 1972, in the presence of Prime Minister Golda Meir, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff Lieutenant General David (Dado) Elazar and was carried out in deep secrecy.The belated revelation is based on a report written in 1972 by Israel’s foremost researcher of Bedouin life, Yitzhak Bailey, Haaretz said.Bailey, an immigrant from the United States, lived and taught Hebrew at Kibbutz Sde Boker and was taking his first steps in researching the Bedouin tribes of the Negev and Sinai. He heard of the expulsion at the end of February 1972 when he met a sheikh of the Tarabin tribe in El-Arish.The sheikh told him of a large group of his kinsmen who had been expelled from their lands near Abu Agheila and had been forced to walk dozens of kilometers and relocate to the south of the Jabel Halal mountain.“I went out there in my jeep and met them living there in groups in makeshift tents,” Bailey told Haaretz this week.“They had been forced to leave most of their property behind. They told me that Israeli officers had arrived at their encampments in the night, some with jeeps, others on camels and ordered them to leave at once.” The expulsions took place over three nights in January 1972 and at least in one case where the Bedouin refused to leave, the Israeli soldiers had fired in the air and began tearing down their tents.Bedouins led him to two temporary burial grounds where Bailey recorded and photographed at least 28 graves for little children. “I returned to El-Arish and spoke with a few officers of the military governorship who told me the Bedouin had been removed on Sharon’s orders and Arik probably was planning to use their land now for Israeli settlement.