- Written by Harriet Sherwood in Khan al-Ahmar Harriet Sherwood in Khan al-Ahmar
- Published: 06 December 2011 06 December 2011
Israel to forcibly remove bedouin communities in settlements push
Relocation of 2,300 people in West Bank to site near Jerusalem rubbish tip would make contiguous Palestinian state impossible
Bedouin go through belongings after the Israeli army allegedly destroyed several homes and sheep pens in East Jerusalem. Photograph: Mahmoud Illean/Demotix
Around 20 bedouin communities between Jerusalem and Jericho are to be forcibly relocated from the land on which they have lived for 60 years under an Israeli plan to expand a huge Jewish settlement.
The removal of around 2,300 members of the bedouin Jahalin tribe, two-thirds of whom are children, is due to begin next month. The Israeli authorities plan to relocate the families from the West Bank to a site close to a municipal rubbish dump on the edge of Jerusalem.
The bedouin say the move would expose them to health hazards, deny them access to land to graze their livestock and endanger their traditional lifestyle. They add that the viability of their existing communities has been seriously eroded by the growth of Jewish settlements, the creation of military zones, demolitions of homes and animal pens, and the building of a highway which cuts through their encampments.
"Because of the [military] closures and the settlements, we are living in a jail which gets smaller every year," said Eid Hamis Swelem Jahalin, 46, who was born in the encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, and has lived there almost all his life.
The relocation plan is the first phase of a longer term programme to remove around 27,000 bedouin Arabs from area C, the 62% of the West Bank under Israeli military control.