60 years of expulsion for al-Jahalin Bedouin
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60 years of expulsion for al-Jahalin Bedouin

In the first half of the twentieth century al-Jahalin Bedouin lived in Tel Arad, north of Bir Saba’, in an area belonging to Hebron district. Then, in 1948 came the Nakba (catastrophe). All over Palestine, Zionist gangs attacked Palestinians in a concerted effort to remove them from their land to make way for the new Jewish state. 750,000 Palestinians were driven out and became refugees. Al-Jahalin were evicted and the land of Tel Arad was seized.


Some from Tel Arad left for Jordan, while others were distributed to the semi-arid region extending from east Jerusalem and Jericho. Despite the pain of displacement, they adjusted to their new lives and the region, with its wide-open spaces suited their nomadic lifestyle.

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After the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967 the Israeli Occupation authorities renewed the program of settlement, transferring population into the territories they had seized and establishing new settlement blocs. The Bedouin communities came under attack once more. New settlements were established around the east of Jerusalem, including in 1975 Ma’ale Adumim, which in the 1990s was to grow into a major colonial centre. To enable the establishment of the settlements and their future expansion, the Occupation began to drive out the nomadic communities, closing pastures and water sources and imposing severe restrictions on movement and access, thereby forcing the Bedouin to leave the area.

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***image6***When the Bedouin refused to leave, the Occupation forcibly removed them. In 1997, Occupation forces drove al-Jahalin Bedouin out, clearing the way the expansion of Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

Palestinian Jahalin tents in the valley of Wadi Abuhindi, east of Abu Dis, inhabited by nearly 200 people. The Occupation authorities demolished the community in 1997. After a period of 14 days the Bedouin rebuilt the community and the people returned. But threat of displacement still hangs over them.

Every time a new settlement is established, or where there is expansion of existing settlements, expulsion of the Bedouin communities follows.

***image8***Those who are not forcibly removed face constant pressure from the Occupation. They are prevented from accessing services and are denied basic infrastructure development. Al-Jahalin school lies in Wadi Abu-Hindi valley, east of Abu Dis. It is threatened with demolition, along with all the nearby houses. In 1997, Occupation bulldozers flattened the school. It was swiftly rebuilt by the people, but the Bedouin community lives with the constant threat of attack.

The Occupation prohibits the building and repair of roads for claimed ‘security reasons’.


***image10***Having stolen and annexed all the water resources in the area, the Occupation now provides water to the Jahalin Bedouin near Ma’ale Adumim, through a pipe of one inch diameter. This one pipe provides water for a community of around 2000 people. Just a couple of hundred meters away in the settlement, the water flows freely to the Israeli settlers.

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In North West Jerusalem, 30 members of the Jahalin families have been relocated four times since their initial expulsion in the 1948 Nakba. Now, with the Apartheid Wall threatening to plough through the middle of their community, they are being expelled again.


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Five families from the Arab Alka’abna Bedouin community are completely isolated behind the Apartheid Wall, and prevented from moving outside their homes. They risk fines and imprisonment if they are caught roaming the area.

The Occupation authorities have developed a number of proposals for expelling the Bedouin in order that the land can be annexed for the settlements. One idea is to gather them in a single concentration and relocate them to this waste dump area.