Monday, October 26, 2020

Israelís Bedouin relocation plans spark vehement opposition

By Jonathan Brown - September 17, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Bedouin] [Jerusalem] [Jerusalem municipality] [Jordan Valley]

The Israeli government’s plans to relocate thousands of Bedouins from the 'Jerusalem Periphery’ to new residential developments in the Jordan Valley have been met with sharp opposition.

Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank has developed nine individual plans, which collectively constitute a strategy for evicting approximately 12,500 Bedouins from the Jahalin, Kaabneh and Rashaida tribes from their communities near Jerusalem to new residential developments north of Jericho.

The Civil Administration’s plans have come up against resistance from the Palestinian Authority, leaders of the Bedouin community, and even the Israeli Supreme court, which condemned the Civil Administration for drafting the plans without the consultation of either the Palestinian Authority or the Bedouin community.

Bedouin community leaders and community representatives met at simultaneous meetings in Anata and Jericho on Tuesday to formulate a combined response to the Civil Administration's relocation plans. At the meeting in Anata, Israeli architect and planner Alon Cohen Lifshitz showed maps illustrating the Administration's plans.

“We decided to express our opposition to the principles of the plan,” one participant told Haaretz, “and not this or that aspect of it.”

“From the start we’ve opposed the plan to expel us from the places where we live and settle us unwillingly in one town, but we didn’t know just how bad this plan was until we heard and understood the details.”

According to a press release issued by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, Israel’s relocation plans are a prelude for further land seizures, which would constitute a flagrant violation of international law and the Geneva conventions. Head of the Anti-wall and Settlement Commission Minister Ziad Abu Ein said the Civil Administration’s plans are part of an ongoing Israeli annexation and settlement expansion of 'Greater Jerusalem,’ reported WAFA new agency.

The Civil Administration's plan comes one year after mass protests and the eventual stalling of the Prawer-Bergin plan, the Israeli government’s attempt to evict up to 40,000 Bedouins from the Negev desert and relocate the communities to developed townships.

The Palestinian Authority reportedly objects to the plan because it undermines the PA’s own plan to build a city nearby.  Although the land designated for the building development north of Jericho is located in Area C - the part of the West Bank under full Israeli military and civil control - it is adjacent to Area A, which is under PA control. The Administration’s new town would called Talet Nueima.

Speaking with Haaretz, Lifshitz said of his meeting with Bedouin leaders, “Speaking with them, I understood that aside from uprooting them, one of the most difficult aspects of the plan is that they are being sent as a group into a single place, without taking into account where they will put their flocks, how they can feed them, how much room they’ll have and where they will keep their livelihood.” 

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