Middle East Monitor, Monday, 24 November 2014 10:35
After living under decades of Israeli occupation, Palestinian Bedouins now face an Israeli plan for their forced displacement to urban areas, which, they say, do not suit their nomadic lifestyle.
Abu Raed, a 66-year-old leader of a Palestinian Bedouin community near Jerusalem, described the Israeli plan as “the worst threat we have ever faced.”
The area where he and his family live was labeled by the Israeli government “E1″ – one of Israel’s settlement expansion plans that was approved by the Israeli authorities in 1999 but was delayed due the international pressure.
If realised, the E1 plan, which aims to build new Jewish settlements on an area of 12,000 dunams, will link the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim, Mishor Adumim and Kfar Adumim in the occupied West Bank to East Jerusalem.
One dunam of land is roughly equivalent to 1,000 square meters.
To achieve this, Israeli authorities will relocate Raed’s family, along with many Bedouin communities, to the Jordan Valley near Jericho.
“We heard that the Israelis would bring thousands of outsiders into this land, which would mean forced displacement for us. All the Jewish settlements around will be combined and united with Jerusalem,” Abu Raed told Anadolu Agency.
He said that moving into an urban township would bring their traditional lifestyle – which they have enjoyed for centuries – to an end.
“Our life depends on livestock. We cannot live in the city. That is against our lifestyle. We cannot feed and water our livestock in a city,” he lamented.
Palestinian Bedouin, he said, also fear losing the privilege of keeping at least 200 meters between their homes, in accordance with their traditions – a custom that would become untenable in the city.
“Bedouin women don’t associate with outsiders, but in a crowded town, they won’t be able to keep this tradition anymore,” he said.
“City life is totally against our lifestyle. We are shepherds. We only know how to feed animals. We will be like brutes in the city,” he added.
He asserted that they didn’t reject modernity. They just want to become a modern society – but in the mountains instead of the city.
Asking European countries to help them against the settlement plan, Abu Raed voiced fear that there would be no local Palestinian village left in the area if Israel forced them off the land.
“It is impossible to bring peace with this kind of eviction plan,” he argued.
Last month, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the European Union sought to persuade Israel not to take a series of moves in the occupied West Bank deemed “red lines” by the union – including settlement building in the E1 area.
According to the paper, the European Union believes that crossing any of these “red lines” by Israel could undermine the possibility of a future Palestinian state alongside Israel – a risk that could draw further European sanctions against Israel.
The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous “Balfour Declaration,” called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
Jewish immigration rose considerably under the British administration of Palestine, which was consolidated by a League of Nations “mandate” in 1922. In 1948, with the end of the mandate, a new state – Israel – was declared inside historical Palestine.
As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Jewish forces.
Israel went on to occupy East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians, for their part, continue to demand the establishment of an independent state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem – currently occupied by Israel – as its capital.
History of displacement
Mohamed al-Korshan, head of the Jerusalem Bedouin Cooperative Committee, an NGO, says the Bedouin living in Khan al-Ahmar had taken refuge in the area after becoming refugees when Israel was created in 1948.
According to al-Korshan, the Bedouin tribesmen who lost their land in the wake of the creation of Israel had settled in the Khan al-Ahmar area, refusing – for two main reasons – to move into refugee camps.
“Firstly, we thought we would get back our land very soon. And the second reason was to keep our traditional lifestyle,” he said.
“We currently live near Jerusalem; we don’t want to move away from the holy city due to its religious and commercial significance,” he added.
“Israel’s construction of the separation barrier has already isolated us from Jerusalem,” al-Korshan lamented.
According to the Ramallah-based Palestinian government, the separation barrier – which snakes through the West Bank, isolating large swathes of Palestinian territory – cuts some 50,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem off from the city center.
Sacred to both Muslims and Jews, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world’s third holiest site.
Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
International law regards the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and all Jewish settlement building in these areas as illegal.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered construction of a further 1,060 Jewish-only housing units in East Jerusalem in a move that drew Palestinian, Arab and international condemnation.
Palestinians already accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to “Judaize” the historic city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity and ultimately driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.
Al-Korshan said that Bedouin communities’ access to natural resources, such as fresh water and natural grasses for their livestock, were restricted after the 1967 war.
“Natural resources now go mainly to the settlers living around us,” he said. “The area where we live used to be considered ‘empty land’ by Israel – as if we had never existed.”
In order to avoid forced eviction, the Jerusalem Bedouin Cooperative Committee is bracing to fight the plan in court.
“Israel is making plans about us without consulting with us. We are now in coordination with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the Palestinian Authority,” he said.
According to Israeli law, any relocation plan must be published in two Hebrew-language newspapers and one English-language newspaper, so that it might be discussed for 60 days before being implemented.
However, al-Korshan said Israel had only shared the E1 plan with Jewish settlers, thus violating its own law.
“Our Israeli lawyers said that Israel’s plan for us is not transparent; that it was prepared behind closed doors,” he said.
Yet in a worst-case scenario, the committee is working on a plan aimed at allowing relocated communities to retain their traditional lifestyles – even if they have to move to a different area.
“We are working on an alternative plan, but we have not submitted it yet to Israeli authorities,” he said.
In August, Israeli authorities published six municipal plans, according to which 7,000 Bedouin would be relocated to townships.
One of these towns is Al-Nuway’imah, a Palestinian Bedouin community located just outside Jericho in the West Bank. It is surrounded by Jewish settlements and Israeli military bases.
Abu Faisla, a Bedouin leader in Al-Nuway’imah, fears that if other Bedouin communities in Khan al-Ahmar were to relocate here, there would be hostility between local residents and the newcomers.
“We live on little land. If the Bedouin communities in Khan al-Ahmar moved in, the land would be overcrowded,” he said.
“Each Bedouin community has its own traditions. Mixing us [together] as a big town might start a fight between us,” he warned.
He believes that, by this plan, Israel wants to play Bedouin communities off against one another.
“If Israel goes ahead with the E1 plan, we won’t be able to live as we have lived for centuries,” he said.
Mondoweiss, Annie Robbins on November 30, 2014 19
A peaceful protest by activists from Palestinian popular committees successfully blocked the Jerusalem – Jericho road Friday in their ongoing protest against Israeli policies to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian Bedouin communities from “Area C”.
As Stop the Wall reported here last month, Israel has accelerated “the infrastructure construction to build the West Bank Bantustans systematically suffocating the Palestinian communities to force them to leave the area.”
Accompanied by international solidarity activists, they confronted heavily-armed Israeli forces who used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them.
In September 2014 Israel published plans (#1418 and #1419) to forcefully evict thousands of Bedouins from their residences in Area C (although they didn’t use those words) and corral them into a new “Bedouin township” in Nuweimeh near Jericho, thus clearing the area for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlement around Ma’ale Adumim, Kefar Adumim, Rimonim, Yitav and other settlements in the area. According to the Jahalin Association, the plans would have the effect of “judaising [the land] from East Jerusalem down to Jericho.”
According to the Jahalin Association: The plan will involve the transfer of Bedouin families from the Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho peripheries across three different Bedouin tribes: the Jahalin, Kaabneh and Rashayda. This includes communities from the controversial E-1 area. The targeted Bedouin communities strongly object to the Nuweimeh plans for a host of reasons.
An expert legal opinion by Professor Marco Sassoli and Dr. Theo Boutrouche examined the case and concluded that if the plan were to be implemented it would constitute forcible transfer, prohibited under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is a grave breach of the Convention and may amount to a war crime.
Activist said the main goal of protest, along with alerting people to the ongoing displacement of the Palestinian Bedouins, was “to confirm that occupied Jerusalem is a Palestinian capital and Palestinians have the full right to enter Jerusalem city freely”. For more information on the dire implications of these plans please check out the Fact Sheet as to the Implications of the E-1 Development/Displacement Plan.
The plans that Israel published in September are open to public objection until December 3rd. A sub-committee of Israeli Military governing body that controls Area C is authorized to approve the plans but after it has received objections it must consider those objections and hold a public hearing before issuing a decision, which can then be appealed to the Israeli High Court.
Lawyers and planners for the Bedouin communities will object to the plans and represent their clients at the hearings. To protest the Israeli relocation plan individual citizens and organizations, have standing to make such objections to The Subcommittee for Objections, Civil Administration, P.O. Box 16 Bet El 90631, and do not need to be represented at the hearing.
Article 49 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 reads as follows:
Individual of mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.
Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Such evacuations may not involve the displacement of protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement. Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased… The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies
Jahalin Association: “The forcible transfer of the Bedouin tribes living in Area C is not motivated by any imperative military reasons, nor is it being proposed in order to protect the civilian population from imminent danger arising from nearby military operations.”
Thanks to Ofer Neiman
- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/activists-jericho-jerusalem?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=a31761db35-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-a31761db35-398512401#sthash.Q1E1Ni85.dpuf
Saturday, 18 October 2014 16:30
An estimated 90,000-100,000 Palestinian Bedouin lived in Palestine before the Nakba. In the late 1940′s and early 1950′s all but about 10,000 were driven from their lands by Zionist militias and – after the establishment of the State of Israel – the Israeli army. The Bedouin fled to different areas. Some went south from their homes in the Naqab to Egypt, others fled to Gaza and many to the areas around Hebron and East Jerusalem – lands east of the Green Line.
The Jahalin tribe re-established various communities-in-exile around the Jerusalem periphery. Today, it is the largest of the exiled Bedouin tribes in the West Bank.
In ‘Area C’ of the West Bank and sandwiched between the Israeli settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, the village of Khan al-Ahmar is one of the Jahalin’s villages. Since its establishment, residents have lived without the most basic of infrastructure and amidst the ongoing demolition of their houses. Israel carries out these demolitions under the pretext of the Bedouin having built their structures ‘illegally’ despite the fact that all their requests by the community for development of their village including construction and connection to infrastructure have been rejected by the Israeli Civil Administration.
The ever-present fear of individual demolitions has now been overshadowed by the spectre of another mass-displacement project. Khan al-Ahmar is amongst the communities that are threatened with ‘Forced Population Transfer’ within Israel’s E1 development plan. ‘Forced Population Transfer’ is in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defines it as ‘a crime against humanity’.
More than half of Khan al-Ahmar’s population are children and according to UNRWA many of them ‘display signs of psychological trauma such as speech defects, insomnia and bed-wetting’.
Various international bodies have provided humanitarian aid and assistance to the Bedouin communities in different forms, yet this practice does not address the root cause of the issue. Only real political action can halt Israeli expansionism and the displacement and exile that it necessitates.
Until that happens, the Bedouin of Khan al-Ahmar and the wider Palestinian population are forced to survive amidst continued dispossession and displacement with no end in sight.
Slideshow of Rich Wiles’ photographs at article, or above:
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – 11:21 Inter Press Service
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Oct 18 (IPS) – Thirty-year-old Naifa Youssef and 50 other members of her Bedouin community live a precarious life, eking out a hand-to-mouth existence alongside the main road which links Jerusalem with the Dead Sea and the ancient city of Jericho.
Home for this community, east of Jerusalem, comprises a collection of shanty structures and hovels as well as tents erected on the rugged and rocky hills which line the road.
These makeshift homes are not connected to the electricity grid or to water and waste infrastructure. In winter the bitter cold rain and howling winds creep into the structures while mud and sewerage build up in pools around the tents.
Water has to be purchased and brought in by hand from the nearest village of Anata, a 15-minute and 5-km taxi journey away costing about two dollars per person.
Youssef’s community lives below the poverty line as the men folk struggle to make ends meet from casual day labour and herding their goats and sheep, with the area they can graze on limited by Israeli settlements.
The community has lived there for 50 years following their expulsion from the Negev Desert in 1948 when the Israeli state was established. The majority of the West Bank’s Bedouin communities were expelled from the Negev Desert during the same year.
Over the next few years, Israel plans to forcibly expel and relocate approximately 27,000 Palestinian Bedouins from Area C of the West Bank to make way for Israeli settlements.
This followed an announcement by the Israeli government in August that it planned to confiscate over 1,000 acres of West Bank land — the biggest land grab by the Jewish state in three decades.
The West Bank is divided into Area A, under nominal Palestinian control, Area B under joint Israeli-Palestinian control, and Area C (which comprises approximately 60 percent of the territory) under full Israeli control, although overall control of the entire West Bank ultimately falls under Israeli control.
The Israelis argue that under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Area C does not belong to the Palestinians and that most of the structures built there were constructed without permits.
However, obtaining the requisite Israeli building permits for Palestinians is notoriously difficult in East Jerusalem and most parts of the West Bank, and almost impossible in Area C. Critics argue that this is a deliberate policy by the Israeli authorities to keep the occupied territory part of Israel.
The Israeli authorities have warned the Youssefs and their neighbours that they have less than two months to evacuate and that if they refuse to leave they will be forcibly expelled by Israeli security forces.
“We have nowhere else to go, we’ve lived here for many years and have no other land. We also can’t afford to move into a Palestinian village because we can’t afford the rent,” Youssef said.
Youssef’s problems have been experienced by thousands of other Bedouins and will be experienced by thousands more once again as Israel moves to keep most of the West Bank free of Palestinians and exclusively for Israeli settlers and settlements.
In preparation for what some have labelled an accelerated wave of ethnic cleansing, officials from Israel’s Civil Administration, which administers the West Bank, have been demolishing Palestinian infrastructure in Area C including shacks, tents, animal shelters and homes and other structures deemed to have been built “illegally”.
As part of the forced relocation, more than 12,000 Bedouins will be relocated to a new settlement near the West Bank city of Jericho where they will be surrounded by a firing zone, settlements and an Israeli checkpoint which will limit their ability to graze their herds, the main source of income for these nomadic pastoralists.
Several Bedouin communities were forcibly relocated in the 1990s by the Civil Administration from near East Jerusalem to an area of land near a garbage dump in Abu Dis which falls in Area B.
The expulsion of the Bedouins in the 1990s was primarily to make way for enlarging the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, one of the largest in the West Bank.
Further to enlarging Maale Adumim, part of Israel’s plan has been to keep an area known as the E1 corridor, which links the settlement with East Jerusalem, contiguous and under Israeli control by building more settlements, effectively dividing the West Bank in two.
The move also further isolates East Jerusalem from the West Bank. East Jerusalem is of great importance to Palestinians due to cultural, educational, family, business, and religious ties. Palestinians also hope to establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“The Civil Administration’s plan blatantly contravenes international humanitarian law, which prohibits the forced transfer of protected persons, such as these Bedouin communities, unless the move is temporary or is necessary for their safety or to meet a military need,” says Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
“The Civil Administration’s expulsion plan meets none of these conditions. Israel, as the occupying power, is obligated to act for the benefit and welfare of residents of the occupied territory. Expansion of the settlements does not comport with this requirement.”
(Edited by Phil Harris) Independent European Daily Express:
‘Do not plan our expulsion!’: Activists protest Palestinian businesses involved in Bedouin relocation plan
By: Stop the Wall on October 14, 2014
The Israeli policies to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian Bedouin communities from the Jordan Valley and the area east of Jerusalem include the construction of three apartheid-style townships. Once expelled, these communities should be relocated there. However, in the last weeks Palestinian campaigners and Bedouin communities have made great advances to obstruct this plan: They have directly targeted the companies involved in the construction of the two townships currently being developed.
One of the townships is to be built next to Al Aizariya. This place should house around 2300 Palestinians living today in 20 Bedouin communities in the hills east of Jerusalem in an area of some 14 km that reaches from east Jerusalem towards Jericho and encompasses some 4800 hectares. Israel now considers this area as being within the municipal boundaries of the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adummim. This particular place raises serious health concerns due to its location next to an open dumping site.
The second one is planned in Inweimeh in the Jordan Valley, close to Jericho. This should be a space for the 12,500 people from 28 Bedouin communities that are to be expelled from the rest of the area east of Ma’ale Adumim until Jericho and from Bethlehem to Al-Ouja, north of Jericho. The land on which this township is to be built is considered ‘state land’, i.e. land without an owner, by the Israeli authorities. De facto, it is land that historically has been used by the Bedouin communities and is now taken from them to enable the expulsion from the rest of their land.
Jamal Juma’ coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, explains how people took successful action against this scheme, the impacts on the Bedouin communities if the relocation scheme is implemented as well as the political and historical background of the relocation plans and popular struggle to resist the plans.
People power versus corporate interests
Some two weeks ago the Bedouin communities, the popular committees within Stop The Wall and Popular Coordinating Committee got to know that three Palestinian companies are involved in the relocation schemes and the construction of the townships. In the case of al Inweimeh, one company has been contracted to do the urban planning, the second for the infrastructure planning and the third for the survey of the land.
When we became aware of the fact that Palestinian business is involved in this ethnic cleansing plan, we immediately organized a first protest in front of the company doing the urban planning. We were some 50 activists and representatives of the Bedouin communities. We held a press conference right there in the street and activists sprayed graffiti on the walls of the company denouncing their involvement with this Israeli ethnic cleansing policy. We got lots of local media attention.
This action was organized just the day before an announced visit by the Israeli occupation authorities to al Aizariya to show potential bidders the locations of the second township to be built. We were there the second day as well.
Activists and representatives of the Bedouin communities confronted the Israeli authorities and the companies present. This time no business from the West Bank dared to show up. There were only three Israeli companies and one Palestinian company from the Naqab/Negev. The three Israeli companies left the area immediately when seeing the protest. After the Bedouin explained the Palestinian company that any construction would face continued protests and resistance, that company maintained they had not been ‘aware’ of the meaning of the project and would not participate in any bidding.
These protests, the support from all corners of the Palestinian spectrum for our call to stop all participation in such projects and to boycott any such company as well continuing media attention heated up the situation. In one live interview the director of the urban planning company admitted to having 28 other contracts with the Israeli civil administration, showing that we actually only touched the tip of the iceberg here. During the discussions it became as well clear that Israel is planning since 2011 these townships. This explains why the Palestinian National Authority, which since time wanted to build on this land, was never granted a single permit by Israel. In the end, the Palestinian companies claimed that they have been deceived by the Israeli Civil Administration and they didn’t know that these locations are aimed at concentrating the Bedouin that have been ethnically cleansed from their land.
We continued building an overarching consensus that the companies are to be stopped from any participation in such projects or cooperation with the Israeli occupation on our land. Finally, last week the companies gave in and asked for a meeting with all involved. During these discussions they promised to comply with our demands. We are now waiting vigilantly for their official position and will be monitoring any future actions they will be taking.
The disengagement plan: 21st century Bantustans
Approximately 28 thousand Bedouins are living in area C, which constitutes 60% of the West Bank. According to the Oslo Agreement, the West Bank was divided into three different types of administrative control. Area C was supposed to remain under Israeli full control until the end of the ‘transition period’ towards a Palestinian state, which was to end in 1999. 15 years later we are further away than ever from our self-determination or statehood. The real result of that classification was that Israel since then has been dealing with Area C as if it was already annexed. The occupation has been systematically suffocating the Palestinian communities to force them to leave the area and move the Palestinian population into veritable Bantustans, overlapping with what had been defined by Oslo as area B and A.
In 2002 Israel started to institutionalize and literally cement these policies on the ground by building the Apartheid Wall around Areas A and B to free area C for settlement expansion. Three years later, in 2005, Israel presented and started implementing the ‘disengagement plan’, which did not only affect Gaza but all of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Gaza was transformed into an open-air prison and the first of the Bantustans. The laboratory for the West Bank. At the same time, the infrastructure construction to build the West Bank Bantustans was accelerated as well as the expulsion of the Palestinian population from area A and the settlement expansion into these areas.
In 2007 Israel displaced 300 Bedouin families and destroyed their locations east of Ma’ale Adumim and relocated them by force on confiscated land belonging to the village of Abu Dis in area B. After pressure from EU on Israel to stop the demolitions of Bedouin communities, Israel allowed the Palestinian Authority to start urban planning for Bedouin communities in area C. This would not have altered much in the Israeli plans nor in the fate of the Bedouin communities. However, Israel rejected all PA plans and has started through the so-called Israeli Civil Administration the planning for the Palestinian townships in these areas.
This massive evacuation of area A will be followed by the closing the old road from Jericho to Jerusalem for Palestinians. This will isolate the different Palestinian communities even more one from the other and completely cut the south of the West Bank from the center-north.
Finally, while these policies are another Nakba, a full scale disaster for the Palestinian quest for self-determination, for the Bedouin communities it is the end of their lifestyle. This plan to concentrate the Bedouin communities in townships undermines the traditional culture and livelihood of the affected communities. They will be prevented from access to grazing land, which means they have to sell their livestock and loose their livelihoods. In Jerusalem area, 85% of the 200 Bedouin families relocated in 1997 in Abu Dis had to abandon their traditional livelihood.
Undermining the sustainability of Israeli apartheid
One of the powerful backlashes after the latest Israeli military onslaught on Gaza is the redoubled determination of the Palestinian people to end the sustainability of Israeli policies and not to allow Israel anymore to profit from the occupation. This is targeting Israeli produce, contracts with Israel and the re-construction of Gaza, were plans are made to ensure Israeli companies will profit from the effort.
Since Oslo, there has been a heightened focus on the part of Israel to ensure that their occupation of our land is bringing them profits instead of expenses. This includes keeping the Palestinian people as a captive market so that they consume Israeli products and to encourage cooperation with Palestinian business as ‘peace building’ and ‘creating statehood’.
Now that campaigns are increasingly succeeding in emptying Palestinian shops as much as possible from Israeli products (due to import restrictions some products cannot be substituted or built in Palestine), as well Palestinian business is facing stronger control. The case of the three construction companies will surely set an important precedent. Further, it is a message to all companies – Palestinian or international – that they will be held accountable.
- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/palestinian-businesses-relocation#sthash.2doPyFoK.dpuf
Address by Jameel Hamadin Jahalin to Andreas Reinecke, Christian Berger, Amb. Colin Scicluna, DPLC Committee, Belgian Foreign Min. et al. in Brussels
My name is Jameel Hamadin. I’m a youth activist defending the rights of the Bedouin in the West Bank. I graduated from Hebron University as an agricultural engineer. I live at the Sea Level encampment, next to Al Khan al Ahmar. I am also a Bedouin, and a refugee of 1948.
Certainly my education is unusual among my fellow Bedouin, even though many are as able as I am to study. Most simply don’t have the opportunity to finish school. Or they don’t see the point in pursuing education because of the high level of unemployment in Bedouin communities.
I present today the most important problems and risks that our community is facing in the Jerusalem Periphery and Jordan Valley.
The Israeli authorities have issued demolition orders to most of our communities in Jerusalem Periphery and Jordan Valley, and recently demolished entire communities. They have destroyed our homes and left us out in the cold. Recently twenty one sheep or lambs have died in Az-Zayyem village, which was demolished entirely on 9/11. That destiny awaits dozens of our communities in Area C. Also there are 3,000 demolition orders outstanding for homes and schools and animal shelters. This is ethnic cleansing of our people which is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and the human rights which ensure freedom of the individual to move and live, and also prohibits the destruction of property.
The Occupation authorities are planning to displace us forcibly to places like Nuweimeh or next to the garbage dump in Abu Dis in order to expand the settlements and implementation of the E-1 Plan. We Bedouin communities reject the plans for the following reasons:
These areas do not suit our lifestyle or our traditions or our culture, so will lead to the destruction of our society.
It will end our traditional way of life that depends on livestock. Nomadic lifestyle has a system of privacy so one tribe cannot be mixed with another in one place.
If they deport us to the city, our lifestyle will end. So either we want to stay where we are or go back to the Negev, to our lands there, from before 1948.
We suffer from difficult economic conditions, including access to grazing lands and water sources, because of expansion of the settlements and the closed military zones. Also the Separation Wall prevents us from access to Jerusalem, which was our main market for selling our products.
In our Bedouin communities, we are not allowed to build the simplest type of homes, made of wood or aluminium sheeting, to protect our children from the cold and the hot summers. We also suffer from lack of infrastructure, electricity, and running water. Also we suffer from lack of access to roads and problems getting children to schools and medical centres, resulting in a high rate of poverty and unemployment, and a low level of education. Many families have lost their sources of income because of the closure of the territory, so we cannot use these lands for our sheep and goats.
We the Bedouin in the West Bank, an isolated minority, and refugees, demand the following:
- We call on the international community to put more pressure on Israel to stop demolition of our communities, animal shelters, homes and schools.
- We call for the international community to offer protection to stop the displacement plans and we demand the Israeli authorities consult and discuss with us anything to do with our future through our lawyers.
- We call for respect for our rights as indigenous Bedouin to choose the places where we live or where we go.
- We demand the provision of basic services, including education, adequate housing and health care.
This article originally published in Haaretz – September 17, 2014[Photo by Reuters]
By Amira Hass
Representatives of Bedouin communities in the eastern West Bank convened two emergency meetings on Tuesday to discuss their stance against a Civil Administration decision to forcibly settle them north of Jericho. The meeting was initiated by a Bedouin community defense council founded a few years ago in the West Bank…
Article continued on Haaretz.com: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.616163.
This article originally appeared in Haaretz – September 16, 2014 [Photo by Reuters]
By Amira Hass
Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank is advancing a plan to expel thousands of Bedouin from lands east of Jerusalem and forcibly relocate them to a new town in the Jordan Valley…
Article continued on Haaretz.com: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.615986.
From the Civil Society Advocacy Working Group on Displacement
September 11, 2014 – Forty-two Palestinian, Israeli, and international organizations are urgently calling on world leaders to stop Israeli plans to forcibly transfer thousands of Palestinian Bedouins out of their communities in the central part of the occupied West Bank and into a designated township.
The organizations (listed below) stressed that the international community must take all possible measures to ensure that individual and mass forcible transfer, which is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, does not take place. The organizations said world leaders should immediately press Israel to cancel all transfer plans and allow Palestinians to remain in and develop their communities, warning that the transfer of Palestinian Bedouins from their current locations would free up land for Israeli settlement expansion in a way that could render the two-state solution unachievable.
The call comes as the Israeli government publicized this week six plans to move Palestinian Bedouins out of their communities around Jericho, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. The plans include moving Bedouins out of the politically sensitive area referred to as the Jerusalem Periphery or “E1,” where Israel has long-intended to demolish 23 Bedouin villages in order to expand and link settlements, established in violation of international law. Settlement expansion in this area would cut the West Bank in two, further disrupting movement and social and economic ties between major Palestinian cities and limiting the little access Palestinians in the West Bank have to Jerusalem.
All of the Palestinian Bedouin communities slated for transfer are located in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel maintains full civil and military control. There are already around 341,000 Israeli settlers living in more than 100 settlements throughout Area C. Although Area C is within the internationally recognized 1967 borders of the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel only allows Palestinians to build on 1 percent of it. The lack of authority to build makes Palestinians vulnerable to home demolition, displacement, and forcible transfer and limits their ability to realize their rights to water, to adequate shelter, to education, health, and to livelihood.
In recent months, the government of Israel has used coercive tactics to heighten the pressure on Palestinian Bedouin communities, issuing eviction orders and demolishing homes and livelihood structures. Israel has also obstructed aid agencies from delivering assistance to these communities, including by seizing and destroying emergency shelters that international donors provided for families whose homes were demolished and confiscating a swing-set and a slide for a Bedouin school. Israel has already demolished more than 350 Palestinian homes or livelihood structures in Area C in 2014, while demolitions in the Jerusalem periphery and E1 area have hit a five-year high, displacing 170 Bedouins, 91 of whom are children.
“Being in constant danger of forcible transfer is not a healthy way of living. We are scared, we can’t build, we lack basic rights, but we don’t want to move to a township. If you ask me to move I would say no. I was born as a Bedouin, and we want to preserve our traditions. Israel is claiming they will create a better solution for us, I will tell you that’s not true, that transferring us will destroy our lifestyle and traditions. If they really want to create a better solution they can let us to go back to the Negev or stay where we are and receive services,” said Jameel Hamadeen, a 32-year-old resident of Sateh al Bahr, one of the Bedouin communities slated for demolition and transfer.
Link to Press Release (PDF): For media release, organizations call on Israel to stop forcible transfer plans
Cover photo: A boy sits a top a water can in front of the ruins of his family home, which was destroyed the day before. West Bank, Palestinian Territories, , Dec. 28, 2013. Photo by Gabriel Romero/Alexia Foundation ©2014.