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Tomorrow: Court Ruling — 12.9.12 Press release

Israeli court to rule on fate of Tire-School

On Thursday, the Israeli Supreme Court will rule on a petition by settlers demanding the demolition of the iconic car tire school, which is the only permanent structure in the West Bank Bedouin village of Al Khan al Ahmar.

JERUSALEM, September 12 2012 – Tomorrow, the Israeli Supreme Court will rule on a petition filed by settlers of Kfar Adumim demanding the demolition of a Bedouin school which is ecologically built of mud and used car tires. The school is attended by roughly 95 Bedouin children (grades 1-4) who are residents of the nearby hut village Al Khan al Ahmar.

This Jahalin Bedouin community has been residing in the area for over 60 years, long before the construction of the settlement of Kfar Adumim, which now resides alongside their huts.

In the state’s response to the settler’s petition, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted saying that he intends to move the “illegal” Al Khan al Ahmar village to a site adjacent to the Aqabat Jabar refugee camp in Jericho or to a site adjacent to Nueima refugee camp in the Jordan Rift Valley.

If this plan is to move forward soon, the school will be demolished and moved with the rest of the village. If the plan is delayed the school will still be moved to a temporary structure in one of the sites mentioned in the response.

The Bedouin community of Al Khan al Ahmar is represented by Attorney Shlomo Lecker. Lecker argues that the “illegality” of the school is rooted in the the IDF’s decades-long denial of orderly building permits for the community. This policy was put in place with the aim of clearing the indigenous population to make room for settlements such as Kfar Adumim.

“Furthermore, the position of the Minister of Defense remains unclear on the problematic nature of sending young girls and boys to distant strange locations such as Nueima in the Jordan Valley,” Lecker added. “Just in order to comply with the wishes of settlers who have been leading a crusade against their neighbors’ school in Al Khan al Ahmar.”

Restricted by their harsh conditions of life, the Jahalin Bedouin of Al Khan al Ahmar struggle to provide their children with an education. The Al Khan al Ahmar school constructed of car tires covered in mud is the only permanent structure in the village and serves as a community center and focal point.

Link to court documents (Hebrew)

Link to a letter from the Al Khan al Ahmar community (English)

Advisory: The court will convene at 09:00a.m. Members of the Al Khan al Ahmar community will be present.

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The Human Side of the Coin- Ha’aretz

Our translation of a short piece by author Eyal Megged

September 12 2012

The Human Side of the Coin

Just below Kfar Adumim is Al Khan al Ahmar. Just below the villas are a few huts.  Just below the public buildings rich with concrete and parquet wood floors is a school built of mud and car tires. On Thursday the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to accept a petition filed by the residents of Kfar Adumim, demanding the execution of the demolition order issued against the school attended by their neighbors’ children.

Until three or four years ago, these kids were sent to school on donkey back; a journey that lasted two hours in each direction. The roof and walls of the school were made of tin which emitted boiling heat in the summer and chilling frost in the winter. A few good people fromItalybuilt a handful of more humane structures for the children, so they wouldn’t have to freeze in the winter or boil in the summer. The residents of Kfar Adumim petitioned the Supreme Court immediately, demanding the demolition of the “ecological” school that appeared under their noses.

Why demolish? Because the structures are illegal. And that is “legally” correct. The structures are not legal, because there was no other choice. They couldn’t let another winter freeze the kids and another summer boil them.  They couldn’t allow the kids to wait for an occasional ride to the school in Azariya, on the side of the deadly highway that connectsJerusalemandJericho.

But it just so happens that the area in question is the holy of holies, the “territorial continuity” between the capital and Maale Adumim, which of course, is also the foundation of our existence. A foundation that erases all traces of our humanity. And it just so happens to be land that Kfar Adumim has its eyes on for the construction of a new neighborhood.

You might ask what the difference is between illegal construction here and illegal construction there. The difference is that since 1967 the Bedouins residing in theJudeanDeserthave not been given a single building permit; and since the declaration of Area C the building and planning laws have become a tool for their routine removal from there and for Jews to take over land inhabited by non-Jews. The Civil Administration shirks all responsibility for their living conditions.  The Civil Administration says openly that it is not interested in what happens to these people, it is not interested in that wretched population, which is being bullied on a daily basis just to make their lives unbearable, as simple as that.

Every time I visited that school with my wife I met dozens of children, dressed in rags, but proud and happy in the structures they themselves took part in building. We wrote the Minister of Defense that the fact that a demolition order was issued against these innocent structures, adjacent to the humble and sorry hut neighborhood, should bring shame to every single Israeli. We asked him to speak for a weak population which endangers none and demands nothing, and to allow the existence of a humble educational project, that gives neglected, impoverished children the sense that they are human and that their lives have value.

The Minister of Defense has yet to answer, but this week three judges of the Supreme Court are to decide whether to destroy theschool orlet the structures be. One can only hope that the honorable judges will only see one side of the coin – the human side.

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A letter from the community

بسم الله الرحمن الرجيم

To:

President Mahmoud Abbas;
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad;

The Minister of Education, Mrs. Lamis al-Alami

The Governor of Jerusalem, Mr. Adnan Husseini

Members of the diplomatic communities in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Tel Aviv and foreign capitals,

(especially those who have supported our work with financial donations);

The European Union;

UN agencies (UNRWA, OCHA, UNSCO, OHCHR, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, WHO);

Members of foreign parliaments, including at ministerial level;
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations;

The Quartet;

Members of civil society

And all those who have expressed solidarity with us by their visits and ongoing support

 

Subject: The Plan of Removing Bedouin Communities From Jerusalem Area and Closing Al Khan al Ahmar School.

 

     According to the subject that mentioned above , and according to the continuous Israel plans that aim to remove the Bedouin communities outside Jerusalem area.  In order to make Jerusalem a Jewish area without any Palestinian person and to get out all the Palestinian people from Jerusalem and all places surrounding it.

These plans started some years ago by giving orders to destroy all buildings that serve Bedouin communities.  We would like to update you on recent developments about this subject, particularly the growing threat from both the Israeli authorities and the settler community.

We were recently presented with a decision of closing Al Khan al Ahmar school and not allowing the new semester to start.  In addition civil administration employees informed us when they visited Al Khan al Ahmar community in 13/08/2012 two things. First : The Israeli Administration is not going to let the school work  or open in the new semester that starts in 2/9/2012. Second, that we have to choose an alternative place to live. They brought a map suggesting two places to move to.  One of them is located near ” Ain Aldyook” , the other is near ” Alnwaemiah Bedouin “, both in the Jericho area close to Area A. The  civil administration has recently visited the Bedouin communities several times. During one visit on August 2012 they informed us about the relocation plan, and they told us many times that we have no choice but to leave the area as part of a large plan to resettle the Bedouin who live in Area C.

Al Khan al Ahmar school is considered an important and basic element offering all educational services to the area and an important element supporting the Bedouin communities. The school now includes 95 students from grade 1 to grade 7 and serves five Bedouin communities.  Since establishing the school in 2009 the school has offered a safe educational environment to our children. Now there is no need for our children to go to schools in Jericho city by crossing the main highway ( road no 1) which is considered a very dangerous road. Five students were killed on this road and four became disabled as a result of crossing over this street.

We suffer from regular attacks by the Israeli settlers who lately destroyed and damaged the pipe which supplies us with water; they have also attacked shepherds and livestock, and arrested children.

Despite the Israeli decision to close the school , the new semester has started as usual, but we are still afraid that the Israeli authorities will close the school at any moment. This is causing a pressure on families that may leave the area to find another one which offer the education for their children.

We appreciate all efforts that aim to protect the school and the Bedouin communities; these efforts will help us face all Israeli displacement policies that  aim to expand settlements and isolate Jerusalem city from its surroundings and separate the north of the West Bank from the south which will kill the Palestinian dream of establishing the Palestinian state.

We ask all institutions, and especially national institutions, to work with us in order to keep this school open as a basic right for all populations under occupation. This is also crucial to keeping the Palestinian territory as a geographic unit according to the national decisions that ensures the Palestinian right to establish their country on the occupied land in 1967. Unfortunately,  we see that the Israeli policies are denying all rights of the Palestinian people , and are forbidding Palestinians from using their land according to national and international rules and laws

We see that the silence of the national society can be considered a part of this, for not applying all national rules and laws that give the Palestinian people their rights

We urge local and international institutions to stand with us to protect this school and all Bedouin communities

With thanks

Eid Khamees Jahalin

Mohammad Sulaiman Kurshan

Sulaiman Ali A’ra’r

Israel threatens to demolish ‘illegal’ Bedouin school- RT

September 2012

A Palestinian school girl walks outside her classroom at a Bedouin camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank near Jericho.(AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)

Israel has threatened to demolish a Bedouin encampment in the West Bank that contains a school, claiming that the community was built without appropriate permits and was hindering the development of new Israeli settlements.

The Khan Al-Ahmar elementary school was built in 2009 with the help of local and international humanitarian groups. The clay-and-tires structure employed 11 teachers, and instructed students belonging to some five neighboring Jahalin Bedouin tribes. Israeli authorities have issued a demolition order, claiming that the encampment containing the school was built illegally.

Demolishing the school would force the children to trek across the desert to Jericho for class, the closest place where education facilities are located. The Israeli military claimed that they will not destroy the school or the encampment until an alternate learning institution for the students is located.

According to UN reports, Tel Aviv has ordered the demolition of around 3,000 structures, including homes, cisterns, solar-power generators and 18 schools, including the Khan al-Ahmar Mixed Elementary School. Only 360 such demolitions have been carried out so far.

Israeli authorities believe that moving the indigenous population to planned communities will lift them out of poverty. Bedouin communities argue that their culture and its centuries-old traditions are being jeopardized by Jewish expansion.

The children of the Jahalin tribe previously attended school in Jericho, about 20 kilometers away, but school bus service was often unreliable. Locals now say that they may have no other choice: “We’ll go to school until it’s demolished,” the Washington Post cited 10-year-old Islam Hussein as saying,

Khan al-Ahmar is one of 20 Bedouin communities that are scheduled for relocation. Bedouin families have lived there since 1951, when refugees fled the Negev region during Israel’s war for independence. The West Bank is currently home to 300,000 Israeli settlers,

In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the ‘Prawer Plan,’ which called for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab desert. At the beginning of 2012, Tel Aviv announced a plan to establish ten new settlements along the disputed Green Line.

More than 70,000 Bedouins in 35 villages live in territory clamed by Israel. The settlements are considered to be ‘unrecognized’ by the Israelis, and the inhabitants are often referred to as ‘trespassers on state land.’

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Full article here:

http://rt.com/news/israel-demolish-bedouin-school-228/

Israel threatens to demolish Bedouin school- Beaumont enterprise.com

September 2012

KHAN AL-AHMAR, West Bank (AP) — Dozens of children returned to school on Sunday, taking part in an annual ritual that has taken on special meaning in this Bedouin tent camp. The makeshift school buildings, cobbled together from mud and old tires, were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israel says it won’t tear them down until alternate facilities are available.

“We’ll go to school until it’s demolished,” said 10-year-old Islam Hussein as she dashed to the school on a nearby hill, after hastily dressing in clothes her mother gave her. She was faster than her brother, Mohammed, 6. Their mother Sara playfully threw shoes at them as she told them not to be late.

Behind them was their home: a series of huts of tin, plastic and wood, forming a kitchen, sleeping room and animal pens. Nearby was the family’s camel herd. Bedouins have lived in similar conditions for centuries, sometimes preferring a nomadic life style to the offer of government-built towns.

About 150,000 Palestinians, or 6 percent of the total number in the West Bank, including those of Khan al-Ahmar, live in the 60 percent of the territory that remains under full Israeli control. This territory is also home to Jewish settlements, where 300,000 Israelis live.

Palestinian Bedouin Students pray at their school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally. Photo: Majdi Mohammed / AP

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Full article here:

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Israel-threatens-to-demolish-Bedouin-school-3834922.php

Occupation from within: the Arab Bedouin in Israel- New Statesman

At the beginning of this year the Israeli government announced a that will displace more than 70 000 Arab Bedouin from their ancestral lands

 

August 2012

A Bedouin carries wood on his back as he walks barefoot back to his tent in the Negev desert. Photograph: Getty Images

The Negev desert is a good place to bury dogs. The dog cemetery of Tsan Yatir provides a final resting place for beloved canines. Arab Bedouin humans are not so lucky. Increasingly they are discovering that the Israeli state has no place for them – dead or alive.

Following the news this week that an Israeli court has ruled the death of ISM activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza, to be “a regrettable accident”, we should remember it’s not only Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories who have come to fear Israeli forces. Israeli citizens are being forced out of their homes by dint of their ethnicity. In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the Prawer Plan for mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) desert. At the beginning of this year the government announced its plan to establish ten new exclusively Jewish settlements along the Green Line demolishing 35 “unrecognised” villages and displacing more than 70 000 Arab Bedouin from their ancestral lands.

Following a 5am start I made the journey from Ramallah in the West Bank to Be’er Sheva in southern Israel to meet with local Bedouin leaders and Arab Minority Rights group Nadalah who are fighting the Prawer Plan every step of the way. The steps are seldom simple and fraught with the challenges that are inevitable when the state is your enemy. My journey was no exception. To get from Ramallah to the Naqab you have to cross the Green Line. It’s a funny thing the Green Line. At times it is impenetrable: to the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories she is the Sphinx, devouring those who do not give the answer she requires. To Jewish Israeli citizens she is a sylph, dissolving in the wind whenever political expediency demands it.

Four hours, three buses, one train and a checkpoint later I arrived in the dusty heart of the Naqab to meet with Dr Thabet Abu Rass, the director of the Naqab Project at Adalah, who was keen to emphasise the parity between Arab Bedouin in Israel and Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and Gaza. “This is the occupation within”, he told me. “The state of Israel refuses to recognize them as a legitimate community and deliberately withholds basic services, such as water, electricity, sewage, schools and healthcare”.

Arab Bedouin have been inhabitants of the Naqab desert since the seventh century but have faced a state policy of displacement for over 60 years. Today, 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in 35 villages that either predate the establishment of the State in 1948, or were created by Israeli military order in the early 1950s. The state of Israel considers the villages “unrecognized” and the inhabitants “trespassers on State land,” so denies access to state infrastructure to “encourage” the Bedouin to give up their land and establish new Jewish settlements in their place.

[...]

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Full article here:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/voices/2012/08/occupation-within-arab-bedouin-israel

Environmental hazards threaten Jahalin- American Charities for Palestine

Environmental hazards threaten  the health and livelihoods of uprooted Jahalin Bedouins

 

August 2012

The Abu Dis garbage dump, near the Palestinian town of Abu Dis situated east of Jerusalem, poses an ongoing health hazard to Bedouin communities living nearby.

The good news is that initial plans to “forcibly relocate some 2,300 Bedouin living in the area of the Ma’ale Adummim settlement to a site near the Abu Dis refuse dump” have been cancelled. The quoted words come from the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, which noted the public health threat in its 2011 Annual Report, released earlier this year.

Amira Hass reported the initial reprieve against the forcible resettlement in February, following the outcry from the Jahalin, as well as Israeli and international human rights groups, the United Nations and the European Union. In late June, Hass confirmed that the plan has been suspended “until surveys were conducted to assess the environmental repercussions and hazards involved.”

A Bedouin member of the Jahalin tribe walks in his encampment. The Ma’aleh Adumim settlement can be seen in the background (Photo courtesy of Reuters).

The intended site was “barely 75 meters” away from the active landfill. An environmental survey found that the dump may be hazardous and at risk of explosion. This did not prevent the Civil Administration’s assistant legal advisor from stating in 2006 that “hazards are measurable and the question is whether there are hazards [we] can live with.”

However, many already live near the waste site. B’Tselem’s report notes that “in the early 1990s, in order to expand the Ma’ale Adummim settlement, Israel already moved members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe to the site next to the Abu Dis dump,” which is “a health hazard for persons living nearby.”

[...]

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Full article here:

http://americaforpalestineblog.org/2012/08/22/429/

Forced relocations from the West Bank fit decades-old plan- The National

August 2012

“South Africa has decided that anything produced in the West Bank must be labelled as coming from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, rather than Israel, as the labels now read. The ruling suggests that the global movement known as “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” is picking up speed.

But Israel is also stepping up its process of forced relocations from the land, increasing pressure on Arabs on both sides of the Green Line. The forced transfers most often associated with the 1948 war did not end with the armistice agreements. They continue today, through overt plans to “relocate” Bedouin citizens of Israel using bureaucratic manoeuvring and the manipulation of the law that pushes West Bank Palestinians off their ancestral lands.

The United Nations reports that in the first six months of this year, Israeli demolitions in “Area C” – which makes up 61 per cent of the West Bank – led to the “forced displacement” of 615 Palestinians and Bedouins, more than half of them children. If demolitions continue at this rate, displacements will exceed those of 2011, in which 1,095 people were made homeless by Israel. In Area C, dozens of Palestinian and Bedouin villages are threatened with demolition, and over 27,000 men, women and children face forced transfer. Most of these people are refugees.

[...]

In the West Bank, Israel restricts Palestinian and Bedouin access to water, crippling agriculture, the traditional livelihood of many residents. And of course there is the separation wall and the system of checkpoints and permits, making it difficult for many – and impossible for some – to reach schools, work, health care, friends and families. The resulting economic and psychological pressures have led some to emigrate.

[...]”

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Full article here:

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/forced-relocations-from-the-west-bank-fit-decades-old-plan#full

Tough Bedouin life wins teen a fairy tale award- Times Of Malta

Girl is inspired by her harsh reality and Barcelona striker Lionel Messi

 *Story by AFP*

August 2012

It was the trauma of seeing Israeli troops raze homes in the Bedouin community where she lives that inspired 14-year-old Salha Hamadin to write an award-winning fairy tale.

Earlier this year, Salha, who comes from an impoverished Palestinian Bedouin community near Jerusalem, was crowned winner of the teenage category of the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Bay competition, which saw 1,200 entries from around the world by youngsters aged 11 to 16. The competition, which is dedi­cated to the 19th century Danish author famed for his stories and fables, takes place every year in the Italian town of Sestri Levante, with a focus on child­ren’s literature and tales that are not yet published.

Called Hantush, the story reflects the tough realities of daily life in the occupied West Bank, and starts when an army bulldozer comes to demolish her family home, prompting Salha to call on her pet lamb Hantush to take her away. The lamb, who can fly, takes her on an adventure to Spain, where she meets Barcelona football icon Lionel Messi. The Barcelona striker ends up returning to the West Bank with her and promises to mend the community’s local football pitch. He also offers her a place on his team, but she refuses, saying she is the only one who can look after the family’s flock of sheep because her father is in prison.

“The reality I live in inspired me to write this story,” Salha said on the barren rocky hillside known as Wadi Abu Hindi. “I used to always think and dream about living a better life in this area.” Salha and her family are members of the Jahalin Bedouin community who live in Area C of the West Bank, which has been under full Israeli military and civilian control for years. Around 300 Bedouin live in Wadi Abu Hindi, which is made up of tin shacks and where there is no running water or electricity.

Salha says she heard about Messi through watching tele­vision and reading the newspaper when she visited family in the northern city of Nablus. The pitch which he promises to fix in her story is a small, sandy play area where local kids kick a ball around. Her father Suleiman, 44, is currently serving a 25-year sentence in an Israeli prison, and Salha says she cannot wait to visit him and tell him about the award she has won. Figures published by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA show there are around 2,300 Bedouin living in 20 communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem, more than two thirds of whom are children. Although more than 80 per cent of them are refugees, most have demolition orders pending against their homes, schools and animal shelters due to an inability to obtain Israeli building permits, OCHA says.

Despite her success, Salha has no interest in moving away from her home in the hope that one day, “fantasy can become reality, that this place would become recognised and that the children would have somewhere to play.” But for the time being, the makeshift playground serves a useful purpose, says her uncle, Mukhtar Mohammed Hamadin.

“It shows people that human beings actually live in this area.

“In the beginning, we had no idea how important it was for my niece to win this award, but when we found out she had beaten 1,200 kids from all over the world, we couldn’t help but be proud.”

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Original article here:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120820/world/Tough-Bedouin-life-wins-teen-a-fairy-tale-award.433644

News update on International Middle East Media Center

Bedouin Livestock Confiscated in the Jordan Valley

 

author Tuesday August 07, 2012 15:28author by Kelly Joiner – International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group & Agencies Report post

 

On Tuesday, Israeli occupation forces confiscated the livestock of Palestinian Bedouins in the Jordan Valley and placed them in an Israeli military camp.

The head of the Wadi al-Maleh village council, Aref Daraghmeh told WAFA News that tens of Israeli soldiers on horseback invaded the grazing fields near there and stole their livestock.

The Israeli army has targeted residents of the Jordan Valley, as in other areas of the West Bank, in an attempt to force local Palestinians to leave their land.

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