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Bedouin face displacement in West Bank corridor, regardless of Israel’s constructions plans- Haaretz

Whether recently approved plans for construction in the E-1 area materialize or not, Israel plans to the relocate the local Bedouin population – against their will.

December 2012

“Ten Palestinian Bedouin communities living in the West Bank corridor connecting Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem  are concerned that if recently approved plans for construction in the area materialize, they will be the first to be harmed by the move, a member of the local Bedouin council told Haaretz on Tuesday.

But even if Israel continues the freeze on the development plans in the area known as E-1, these ten communities and another approximately ten communities living in the area – some 2,300 people – face displacement. Israel has been planning to resettle the Bedouin communities living in the West Bank, starting with the areas surrounding Jerusalem, in permanent settlements, against their will.

In October this year, the state told the High Court that it intends to complete this resettling process in the outskirts of Jerusalem, including the E1 area, within a year. Members of the Jihalin tribe, who are residents of Khan al-Ahmar, told Haaretz Tuesday that the Civil Administration informed them of their intention to relocate them to an already existing village near Jericho, which, according to them, is home to Palestinians from across the West Bank.

“We oppose moving there. If we cannot return to the Negev then at least we should be permitted to stay in the place where we have been living for decades. The place earmarked for us is already occupied by people. The Civil Administration told us that the residents are living there illegally, and that their homes (two stories high) will be demolished. We do not agree with other people being relocated because of us, and at any rate the proposed location doesn’t suit us. The Civil Administrations’ plan will put an end to our traditional way of life and will lead to internal disintegration,” one of the residents said.



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Settlements & land – B’Tselem report

The E1 plan and its implications for human rights in the West Bank

December 2012

This past weekend, the media reported that Israel has decided to advance the planning of thousands of apartments in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, as part of the E-1 plan, in the area connecting the settlement to Jerusalem. According to media accounts, this decision was reached following the UN General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as a state with UN observer status.

The implementation of construction plans in E1 will create an urban bloc between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem, exacerbate the isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and will divide the West Bank into two separate areas, north and south.

The establishment of settlements in occupied territory runs counter to international humanitarian law, which prohibits the transfer of people from the occupying state into the occupied area. It also prohibits any permanent changes in the occupied territory, with the exception of changes mandated by military needs or in order to benefit the local population. In addition, the establishment of Israeli settlements leads to numerous violations of Palestinians’ human rights. The plan to expel Bedouin communities who reside in these areas is a further breach of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the forcible transfer of “protected persons,” such as these communities, unless done for their own safety or for an urgent military need. Even then, it is permissible only on a temporary basis.


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By demolishing homes, Israel is demolishing hope- Haaretz

While the world’s attention is turned to Gaza, the UN and Jerusalem-area settlements, stealthier military maneuvers in the West Bank are pushing Palestinians off their land. If the recent joint U.S.-Israel military exercises actually took place in the Jordan Valley, then Washington is complicit in torpedoing the two-state solution.

Opinion piece by Khaled Diab

December 2012


Behind the idyllic beauty of the scene, there lurked an ugly reality. First, there was the community’s obvious poverty: Living in makeshift tents, with no electricity and with water at a premium because it has to be trucked in, not to mention the children who have to walk about 10km each way to the nearest road so that they can go to school, which eats at least a couple of additional hours out of their day, and means they set out at sunrise and often return just before sunset.

But all this pales into insignificance when compared with the imminent threat facing the community – mostly made up of a clan called Turcoman – of being pushed off the land they have lived on and worked since they were displaced during the 1948 war from the coastal areas of what is today northern Israel. Wadi al-Maleh is home to several such threatened communities, some Bedouin and others sedentary farmers, each numbering around 50-100 people.

The Bedouin I met there – whom I had come to train in ways of better communicating their plight – told me that they had received demolition and eviction orders from Israel’s Civil Administration and that a number of tents had been torn down by the army to show that it meant business. One said that they had even been threatened with the confiscation of their economic mainstay, goats, if they did not up sticks. “Where are we going to go and how are we going to survive without our goats?” the community’s matron figure asked in distress.

The ostensible reason for this community’s planned displacement is because the Bedouin live in what Israel has declared to be a closed military zone, a designation which applies to about a fifth of the total surface area of the West Bank, affecting some 5,000 residents. The locals reported that the Israeli and American militaries had recently taken part in joint manoeuvres on the other side of a nearby mountain.


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WAFA reports on EU mission visit

November 2012

“A group of European Union heads of mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah visited Monday the West Bank community of Khan-Al-Ahmar, located in Area C, which is under full Israeli rule, according to an EU press release.

The diplomats had the opportunity to gain a first-hand impression of the current situation in the area, visit the Bedouin village of Khan-Al-Ahmar and the school serving some 90 children of the community.

The group met representatives of the Jahalin Bedouin community and was briefed on recent developments with regards to the community’s school, the latest legal proceedings and Israeli plans for potential displacement of the population, said the press release.

EU foreign ministers at the May 14 Council adopted strong conclusions on the importance of maintaining the viability of the two-state solution.

The worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C as well as plans of forced transfer of the Bedouin communities, in particular from the wider E1 area threaten to make a two-state solution impossible, concluded the foreign ministers.”

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PNN reports on visit of EU Heads of Mission

November 2012

“On Monday 5th November, a group of European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah visited the West Bank community of Khan-Al-Ahmar. The diplomats had the opportunity to gain a first-hand impression of the current situation in the area, visit the Bedouin village of Khan-Al-Ahmar and the school serving some 90 children of the community.

The group met representatives of the Jahalin Bedouin community and was briefed on recent developments with regards to the community’s school, the latest legal proceedings and Israeli plans for potential displacement of the population.

EU Foreign Ministers at the 14 May 2012 Council adopted strong Conclusions on the importance of maintaining the viability of the two-state solution. The worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C as well as plans of forced transfer of the Bedouin communities, in particular from the wider E1 area threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

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Land for the Nomads- a documentary

A documentary film by Lipika Pelham about Shlomo Lecker, lawyer for the Jahalin.


Israel says that it is planning to remove and relocate 2300 Bedouins from the Judean desert, east of Jerusalem.

The plan will eventually evacuate an estimated 27,500 Bedouins living in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in 1967. They were displaced from the southern Negev desert around 1950 shortly after the creation of Israel. In what’s seen as a gradual process since the 1970s, state-sponsored Jewish settlements mushroomed up all along the desert, limiting the Bedouins’ nomadic way of life. Over the past four decades they were pushed down the valley close to a hazardous highway while Jewish settlements and outposts dotted the Judean hilltops. The Bedouin shacks are routinely demolished by the Israeli Civil Administration on the grounds that they are built without (impossible to get) ‘building permits’.

Shlomo Lecker is an Israeli lawyer who defies all stereotypes. He is a Jew who fights for the Arab Bedouins. He is an Israeli who challenges the Israeli judiciary. The film explores Lecker’s personal relationship with his clients – the lone Israeli who claims that he has a Bedouin soul. The twist in the story and the interesting polarities of his character are revealed when the director confronts him in his house – formerly abandoned by Palestinian refugees in 1948.

‘Land for the Nomads’ narratively observes issues that are between the personal and the national, the modern and the traditional, the exotic and the familiar, with irony and humor that make the film accessible to a wider audience.

Click here to watch!

Lewes MP backs campaigners over Palestine evictions

October 2012

Local MP Norman Baker joined Lewes Amnesty supporters in Cliffe Precinct to campaign against forced evictions and lack of access to basic amenities in Palestine.

Bouts of torrential rain on Saturday morning did not deter more than 200 members of the public joining Mr Baker, MEP Keith Taylor and Lewes Amnesty from signing a petition to Foreign Minister William Hague calling on him to urge the Israeli authorities to end forced evictions in Palestine.

Amnesty International campaigners explained to members of the public that the organisation is particularly concerned by the Israeli military plan to transfer the Jahalin Bedouin living in the area east of Jerusalem on the periphery of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc.

It is reported that under the plan, Jahalin communities composed of some 2,300 Bedouin, two-thirds of them children, will be forcibly evicted from their homes and transferred to a site next to a large garbage dump near the Palestinian town of Abu Dis.

The dump receives up to 1,100 tons of garbage per day, most of it from Jerusalem, and creates environmental hazards. The Israeli army continues to demolish homes and other structures in these communities, said Amnesty. In some of these more than 90 per cent of homes and other structures, including schools, have been subject to demolition orders.

Mr Baker, a long-standing member of Amnesty International, also joined Lewes Amnesty members in holding up banners depicting the range of amenities to which Palestinian people are routinely denied access including hospitals, schools and housing.

Sara Birch, Chairperson of Lewes Amnesty International, said: “I am pleased that in the space of a few hours more than 200 people have signed our petition.

“This clearly demonstrates the strength of public feeling in regard to the forced evictions being inflicted upon Palestinians by the Israeli authorities. Members of the public today have also been shocked to learn of the extent to which Palestinian civilians are routinely denied access to basic amenities such as health care and adequate water supplies.”

The Lewes Amnesty Chairperson described how in July the Israeli occupation forces stopped a cancer patient at a checkpoint and prevented him from travelling to Jerusalem to get treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospital, the only hospital in the region providing comprehensive services to cancer patients, including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical.

The citizen, Haitham Omar Saleem Abu Bakr, 50, from Jenin, said that he suffers from a serious health condition where he is in dire need of treatment at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem to get blood platelets which are not available in the West Bank.

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Al Jazeera- A dynamic year of indigenous communication

October 2012

Indigenous media is a tool for self-determination, emancipation and revival of dying languages.


Indigenous film is taking off worldwide. In Norway, the International Sami Film Centre launched the Indigenous Film Circle and its Film Fellowship, promoting indigenous storytelling through film. Throughout Latin America, indigenous cinema is garnering more attention than ever before. In Mexico, Diego Rivera’s Cultural Center hosted an Indigenous Film and Video Festival for the week of Original Peoples in April. In June, the Argentine province of El Chaco organizes the Fifth Festival of Indigenous Cinema.

Everywhere, the message is similar. The XI International Festival of Indigenous Peoples Cinema and Video, which started last September 25 in Bogota, Colombia, was dedicated to “life, images of resistance”. Yepan, a Chilean on-line collective of indigenous cinema and communication, is designed as a transnational portal to support audiovisual among indigenous peoples. Otavalo filmmaker Alberto Muenala stresses that cinema is a collective practice, and hopes that Runacinema will provide an opportunity to engage the youth in crafting Kichwa aesthetics in cinema beyond Ecuador.

Storytelling emancipation

Indigenous media is a tool for self-determination in many ways. It is an important first step to revive languages that may otherwise disappear. Broadcast and entertainment ensures language transmission to younger generations. This implies transmitting stories and structures of knowledge, therefore securing the survival of the community. Media is both a means of education and keeping collective memory. In that sense, indigenous media is storytelling emancipation.

For instance, media is increasingly used across the Americas to foster public awareness of state policies promoting mining practice in indigenous territories, frame mobilisations as a larger defence of water rights and expose official and corporate violence against those communities who resist these depredations.Indigenous media also permits artists and activists to reframe discourses.David Hernandez Palmar, the Wayuu producer of the film Owners of the Water, sees an emancipatory movement of indigenous peoples through media. Often marginalised by governments and misrepresented in mainstream media, indigenous peoples seek to contest stereotypes and historical narratives. Indigenous broadcast may tell Seminole stories left untold or provide a different perspective to learn Geronimo. In the process, indigenous media create opportunities to hold governments and power elites accountable and expose patterns of discrimination.


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BBC video piece

West Bank Bedouin fear eviction

Residents of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank have an Israeli military demolition order hanging over their homes and their school.

The villagers, who fled to the area after Israel’s War of Independence, are among 30,000 Bedouin that Israel wants to relocate from communities and encampments it says are illegal.

Wyre Davies reports.

Watch video here