[News] Israel finds new "home" for Bedouins: a garbage dump

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Oct 28 12:22:28 EDT 2011

Israel finds new "home" for Bedouins: a garbage dump

28 October 2011

JERUSALEM (IPS) - As Israel moves ahead with a 
plan to forcibly displace tens of thousands of 
in the occupied West Bank, Mohammad al-Korshan 
and his family are facing the real prospect of 
not only losing their home, but their traditional way of life.

“The Bedouins depend on animals. We can’t take 
care of them in the village or in the city. All 
the Bedouins work with animals. If we go to the 
city, they kill us. They kill the Bedouins. After 
a few more years, you won’t have Bedouins in the 
area,” said al-Korshan, who lives in a Bedouin 
encampment with more than ninety other families 
near the West Bank town Anata, northeast of Jerusalem.

“We want to stay in our homes. If they damage our 
homes or our tents, we want to build again. We 
won’t move. Even if they want to kill us, we want 
to stay. We haven’t any place to go,” he said.

Quietly unveiled to local aid organizations in 
early October, 
Civil Administration, the body that governs 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/area-c>Area C 
of the occupied West Bank which is under full 
Israeli military and administrative control, 
plans to expel approximately 27,000 Bedouins from 
their communities in Area C within three to six years.

According to Israeli human rights group 
the first phase is planned to begin as early as 
January 2012, and would forcibly evict 
approximately 2,300 persons ­ who are currently 
living in about twenty communities near the 
settlement of 
Adumim ­ and transfer them to a new location near 
the Abu Dis garbage dump, just east of Jerusalem.

“They want to take our land”

The Civil Administration will expel Bedouins from 
Valley in the second phase of the plan.

“We live now on the road between Jerusalem and 
Jericho. The Israeli government wants to close 
this area because we are near the settlement of 
Kufr Adumim. They want to take our land for their 
settlements,” said al-Korshan, who heads the 
Jerusalem Bedouin Cooperative Committee.

“It’s very difficult for us. We haven’t any place 
to move. Our land is in 
[Bir al-Saba] and we are refugees.”

According to the United Nations’ 
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 
(OCHA), more than 80 percent of the Bedouin 
families living in the hills east of Jerusalem 
are refugees. Most have demolition orders against 
their homes and aren’t connected to electricity, 
while about half do not have regular access to water.

OCHA also found that the proposed relocation site 
for the Bedouins ­ near the town of al-Eizariya, 
where 200 Bedouin families were relocated in the 
1990s to make way for the expansion of the Maale 
Adumim settlement ­ would threaten the 
community’s health, lifestyle and overall well-being.

“The proposed site does not meet minimum 
standards in terms of distance from the municipal 
dumping grounds, which is likely to pose a health 
hazard to the communities, and provides limited 
access to grazing lands. Previously relocated 
families report negative consequences, including 
health concerns, loss of livelihood, deteriorated 
living conditions, loss of tribal cohesion and 
erosion of traditional lifestyles,” the organization wrote in a statement.

Destroying our life

Suleiman Mazarah and his family, members of the 
Bedouin tribe, were forcibly transferred to this 
area by the Israeli authorities in 1997. Mazarah 
said that the community continues to suffer from the move.

“[The Israelis] put us in an area near the 
garbage dump of the municipality of Jerusalem. 
They are going to move the rest of the tribe now 
from Area C to our area. This action will destroy 
the Bedouin life. When they put them in a small 
area, their jobs will be destroyed because there 
is no place to keep animals. They won’t have work,” Mazarah said.

“Most of the people here are without work, so 
they don’t have anything to give their children. 
If they move another group of people here, it will be much worse.”

Forcibly transferring Bedouin communities without 
their consent, OCHA stated, also violates 
international law. “As an occupying power, Israel 
has an obligation to protect the Palestinian 
civilian population and to administer the 
territory for the benefit of that population. Any 
voluntary move or transfer of civilians must meet 
international standards, including relating to a 
free and informed choice,” the organization said.

According to Mazarah, plans to forcibly displace 
Bedouin communities in Area C of the West Bank 
can be linked to the historical and ongoing 
dispossession of Bedouin tribes since the 
founding of the state of Israel, including recent 
Israeli plans to displace 30,000 Bedouins 
currently living in the southern 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/naqab>Negev (Naqab) desert.

“The same thing they are doing with the people in 
the Naqab, they are doing with us here. But in 
the Naqab, the Bedouins there have Israeli 
nationality, and here we are Palestinian. The 
Israelis don’t want any Bedouins in the land,” Mazarah said.

“Our condition, and their condition also, is very 
bad. These forgotten people are suffering from 
the forced displacement, and it’s destroying their lives.”

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