Working on Bedouin issue in E1 area – study trip with JLAC & Wi’am

On Wednesday, 26.11.2014 a field trip was organized by the palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with JLAC and Wi’am – Palestinian Conflict Resolution & Transformation Center. Participants were formed by about 50 politicians, activists, journalists and volunteers, which were given the opportunity of visiting two Bedouin communities, listening to interesting speeches and taking part in lively discussions.

Map of E1 Plan

Map of E1 Plan

Basic documents

Basic documents

First lecture was given already in the bus...

First lecture was given already in the bus…

First step was in Kasarat village of Jahalin Bedouin

First step was in Kasarat village of Jahalin Bedouin

One of the above mentioned tribes was Jahalin living in a little hamlet Kasarat, located in the zone E1 – supposed to be shortly displaced, as well as about 3 thousands more Bedouins from the area.

Kasarat village in the pouring rain...

Kasarat village – part of the barracks was funded by EU


Yellow water cart is a real treasure…

The small stream sometimes turns into a torrent, which carries the risk of flooding

The small stream sometimes turns into a torrent, which carries the risk of flooding

20141126_112627 20141126_112612 20141126_112606The village is ubicated in small wadi, along the a road that used to be a minor israeli military route, but with the passage of time has been extended, and plans are to expand it further, which poses a threat to Jahalin people. Another danger represent heavy rains, which cause that water in the river carries much more water and constitutes the risk of flood. Israeli administration simply doesn’t care about it, as well as it doesn’t provide water or electricity to the community. What’s more it also impede to everyone else (like UN or UE aid) to supply it, and often goes as far as to confiscate or damage the already existing infrastructures. As all over the area C in West Bank, also here „stop work orders” and „demolition orders” are something common, and a lot of Bedouin’s structures have been destroyed. People do need a shelter, whether is a roof, tent, barrack or hut. The animals do, as well. But who cares?? No permits, no buildings… And permits are impossible to get. Who cares?…Sometimes they have to struggle for school – it was the case in many Bedouin villages… What does it mean to struggle for school? It’s about acquire the permit, first. No permit?? So it will be built without it. Demolished shortly after. Rebuilt. Demolished again…Illegal structures – any!!! – are unacceptable. Of course. When Isreal really wants to „clear the land” from any people, first it removes the buildings (whole village) and then establishes a closed military zone there – impossible to rebuilt the structures then, because entrance to the military zone is deadly dangerous for the Palestinians. If they are lucky, they might be arrested, usually they will spend some time in jail, but it’s also possible, that a bullet reaches them, before they even will set the foot on the place that was formerly their home. Oficially, Bedouins can’t go to the military zones, because it may undermine their safety, then it’s a way to protect them! So, why israeli settlers don’t need these security measures?.. Are they all born already bulletproof, actually?..

Other „legal” reasons for land seizure by Israel are Master Plans, strategic plans, plans of development of settlements or other infrastructures (like roads…), natural reserves establishing, etc. Where there’s no legal reason, there a legal reason will be created. Area C is where the full civil and military control is ruled by Israel. Okay, but what if somebody feels that the decision of demolition was really unjust, unfair?.. Where to seek for help, then?? At High Court… of Israel, naturally.

On the way for the first meeting in Kasarat village

On the way for the first meeting in Kasarat village


Discussion with Jahalin Bedouins

Discussion with Jahalin Bedouins

20141126_105041The field trip continues, next stop will be in Nu’ayma near Jericho, a village formed years ago by Bedouins evicted from Negev desert. They live nearly at the border of A and C areas, unfortunately classified as the latter. Even if for a stranger all the houses lying at the foot of the rocky mountains of steep slopes are forming a single large village, in fact they belong to three different families, and the boundaries between them are strictly respected. Bedouin’s tribal structure as well as complicated relationships between families and tribes is the legacy of a long history and rich traditions of these nomadic peoples. As long as the tribes and families don’t violate spatial and moral boundaries, they can coexist peacefully.

But now the vision of the future becomes problematic. Israel prepared for Nu’ayma a big plan called E1. It assumes foundation of a new city – Nu’ayama Talet, where about 1200 Bedouins will live together, regardless which tribe they belong to. These people will be forcibly displaced from their current place of residence – villages in the area concerned by the Plan E1. It might create many social and economic problems, caused by specific features of nomadic people when compelled to settle down on a relative small territory (1000 square metres per family) and sharing this space with other tribes. They wouldn’t be able to continue their herding lifestyle, nor keep on producing red meat and typical dairy products, which they so far supplied for the West Bank. It may result in frustration, anger, hopelessness, and, of course, in unemployment. Then, paradoxically, the only possible source of employment will be neighboring israeli settlements… But they won’t enjoy the same wages or rights as the Israeli citizens. Many times they are subjected of abuses, an incorrect treatment or even unjust accusations.


Second stop – Nu’ayma village near Jericho, where the new city is planned to be built..


Thanks to the spring, agriculture is well developed here. But the water supplies won’t be enough for about 1 200 people more!!

20141126_120917 20141126_121017 20141126_130216Inhabitants of Nu’ayama are anxious about their future. How will they get along with the new neighbors? Won’t be their living space very limited? What about the banana and dates plantations? Is there enough water for everyone?..

Meeting Bedouins in Nu'ayma

Meeting Bedouins in Nu’ayma


Tribal elders (in traditional „kofiya” headwear) with politicians and members of the administration of the Palestinian Authority


On the left, head of the tribe with granddaughter, men in suits – PA politicians and administrative staff. The smoking man in the middle – Governor of Jericho

20141126_121037 20141126_122038 20141126_122051 20141126_125231Governor of Jericho gave speech in a big tent especially prepared for this occasion. He’s very concerned by the E1 Plan and the fate of inhabitants Nu’ayama. He realizes that their problems may affect the city of Jericho and make more complicated the situation in the region, which is already uneasy. That’s why, using the presence of politicians, journalists, and palestinian and international activists, he was encouraging to more resolute actions to halt Israel from the implementation of its projects.

„We ask you to be clear about your position concerning israeli violations of international law”

„International community should take actions and condemn Israel

„By the resolution of Jewish State Israel is proving its racism”

„Declaration of Jewish State is against Christians as well as Muslims and all the rest”

„We all have the same blood…”

„We don’t like to fight, we don’t like blood, we don’t like killing! But we do have our rights!”

„Israel is pushing us to the corner and if Palestinians will be in the corner, nobody knows what is going to happen… We’re not cowards, we are brave!..

„Palestine is 20 000 km2 and we agreed to build our state on 6 000 km2! Which is not just, which is not fair, but we want peace!!!”

There were also other speeches…

As this one, witnessing harassment of settlers:

Below link to the video reassuming all the most importants ideas of the whole meeting, with the special appeal to international community made by the head of the tribe:

…And finally all perticipants had typical palestinian lunch, with a lot of different appetizers (hummus, few sorts of salad, pita bread…) and delicious roasted meat with french fries as a main course 😉 

20141126_131114 20141126_131328 20141126_132445The study trip was finished with many cups of aromatic arabic coffee and a lot of hopeful wishes about the future… Inch’allah some of them will come true. INCH’ALLAH




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