Occupied Jerusalem

- The name of the Bedouin community "Abu Dahuk" in the "Khan al-Ahmar" area between the cities of Jerusalem and Jericho has been repeated a lot in recent years, especially with the continued threat of the Israeli occupation of the imminent eviction of this community and other Palestinian Bedouin communities threatened with forced displacement.

According to data released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA) in 2017, 46 Bedouin communities will be at risk of forcible transfer in the center of the West Bank.

Twenty-six of them are located in the Jerusalem governorate, and, according to the United Nations office, inhabited by 4856 Bedouins who face harsh living conditions in terms of basic services such as water and electricity, in addition to the difficulty of accessing educational and health centers.

Abu Dahuk Bedouin community in Khan al-Ahmar, which is threatened with eviction, east of Jerusalem (Al-Jazeera)

Who are the Bedouins of Jerusalem?

And where did they turn to?

The Bedouins of Jerusalem belong to the “Al-Jahalin” clan, and they are known to Palestinians as “the Jahalin Arabs.” As a result of their displacement in the Nakba in 1948, they sought refuge in the West Bank from the Tel Arad area in the Negev, which extends over an area of ​​approximately 50 km northeast of Beersheba (south of Palestine), 30 km south of Hebron.

At the beginning of their asylum, most of them concentrated in the Hebron area (south of the West Bank), then some of them left at varying intervals towards Jerusalem and were distributed in 4 main areas: Anata, Wadi Abu Hindi, Khan al-Ahmar and Jabal al-Baba. The occupation authorities refuse to recognize their gatherings in these areas. areas and seek to expel them from them again.

What are the most prominent harassments faced by the Bedouins of Jerusalem?

The construction of the settlement of "Ma'ale Adumim" (east of Jerusalem) in 1977 was the first stop in the policy of restricting the Bedouins of Jerusalem.

According to the spokesman for the Bedouin communities in Khan al-Ahmar Eid Khamis, the harassment multiplied in the year 2000 by restricting the movement of the Jahalin Arabs, and not allowing those who do not live in the al-Khan al-Ahmar area to enter it, even if they are from the same clan, after drawing up maps and defining narrow spaces for the population to move in and in a way that is not commensurate with the Bedouin life. .

In March 2010, the first decision was issued by the so-called “Israeli Civil Administration” to demolish all the facilities in Khan al-Ahmar, and the residents resorted to the occupation courts to petition against the decision over the past years, during which decisions were obtained to postpone the demolition until the Israeli Supreme Court approved In May 2018, the Civil Administration and the Israeli military authority ordered the displacement of its residents and the demolition of Bedouin communities in exchange for providing them with a suitable alternative.

The Bedouins of Jerusalem - like the Palestinian Bedouins in other areas - suffer from the lack of recognition of their villages or their ownership of land as part of a policy aimed at displacing them and grouping them into small outposts, according to the academic researcher at the legal clinic of Al-Quds University, Ahmed Amara.

Amara confirms that the legal status of the Bedouins differs from one group to another.

While some of them live on Palestinian land in accordance with an agreement with the owners of the land and the families that own it, others reside on land owned by churches but which allow them to live on it according to certain understandings, as is the case in the Bedouin community of Jabal al-Baba, for example.

In any case, the Bedouins in the outskirts of Jerusalem face daily challenges related to restricting their movement, limiting grazing areas, and preventing their entry to some areas near their gatherings under the pretext of calling them “military areas,” in addition to passing military orders that allow the demolishing and evacuating gatherings quickly and without adequate judicial review, according to the researcher. .

A side of Bedouin life in one of the communities of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem (Al-Jazeera)

What are the "resettlement" plans that Israel seeks to impose on the Bedouins of Jerusalem?

The alternatives that the occupation authorities seek to impose on the Bedouins ignore their lifestyle in which they need open spaces to graze livestock.

The occupation plans to transfer the Bedouins to urban settlements aimed at forcibly “civilizing” them on very narrow areas, and on lands that Israel claims to be “state lands” (meaning belonging to it), but in fact it is Palestinian land, and some of it is classified as private property, says researcher Amara.

By expelling the Bedouins of Jerusalem from their communities, Israel aims to achieve the equation of "the largest number of Palestinians on the least area of ​​land instead of the large areas on which the Bedouins and their livestock live now", in order to empty the vicinity of the settlements and the sides of the Israeli highways from any Palestinian presence.

The occupation authorities will resort to evacuating the communities according to a priority order set by the settlement projects plans, and Amara is likely that the Khan al-Ahmar communities will be the first displacement stations, because a judicial order was issued by the Israeli Supreme Court to do so, as will the Bedouin communities of Jerusalem that fall within the scope of the so-called “E1” settlement project. (East One), numbering 13 communities, on the evacuation schedule, in addition to 12 communities located adjacent to this huge project, which is part of Israel’s plan known as “Greater Jerusalem.”

What is the strategic goal of evacuating the Bedouin communities of Jerusalem?

Director of the Map Department at the Arab Studies Association, Khalil Al-Tafkaji, rejects the narrative that the occupation authorities intend to displace the Bedouins of Khan al-Ahmar in order to implement the settlement "E1" scheme - which breaks the geographical unity of the West Bank and links the settlements surrounding Jerusalem and expands the settlement of "Ma'ale Adumim" - explaining the importance of paying attention to the danger of The broader regional project for 2050.

According to Al-Tafkaji, the Israeli occupation aims from this project to inaugurate the largest airport in the Nabi Musa area between Jerusalem and Jericho, through which 34 million passengers will pass annually, and it aspires to raise the number of tourists to 12 million tourists each year, and hotels and commercial areas will be built for them in these areas, in addition to To an industrial zone and other projects that guarantee tourists to roam from the coast to the Jordan Valley without the presence of Palestinians in the area.

The oldest resident of the Bedouin community of the Pope in front of his tent (Al-Jazeera)

Is the restriction on the Bedouins of Jerusalem different from what the Bedouin communities face in the rest of Palestine?

The arbitrary practices against the Bedouins of Palestine are similar in terms of the threat of losing their housing, confiscation of land, and narrowing the space for pastures and movement. However, these practices against the Bedouin communities of Jerusalem are taking a more stringent form because the pace of Judaization in the city and its surroundings is accelerating daily to achieve the Israeli plan known as “Greater Jerusalem.”

These practices greatly affect the economic situation of the Bedouins, and consequently their resilience due to their inability to market their milk, yogurt and cheese products.

The researcher Ahmed Amara points to the failure of the Palestinian Authority and civil society institutions towards the Bedouins of Jerusalem in terms of providing schools and opening medical clinics to enhance their resilience, especially that the weakness or absence of basic services such as water, electricity and infrastructure such as building streets creates a coercive environment that naturally leads to voluntary displacement.