Israel plans forced transfer of 27,000 Bedouin from East Jerusalem and Jordan Valley
The first phase of this racist, apartheid strategy is scheduled for January 2012, with the forced removal of Bedouin communities from the land around East Jerusalem into a camp/ghetto next to a landfill site by Abu Dis in
The second phase will be the expulsion of Bedouin communities from the
Whilst these plans are now coming out into the open, they are of no surprise to Bedouin and farming communities living in the
In pursuing a policy of forced transfer of indigenous people from their land, the Israeli state is treading firmly in the footsteps of the apartheid South African government in its forced removal of black people into townships. History is littered with the systematic displacement of powerless, indigenous peoples from their lands. The pattern is consistent – families, communities and cultures are destroyed because they live on land, or near natural resources, that governments and corporations want to claim for their own benefit.
Jordan Valley Solidarity have been working with Bedouin communities since 2004, developing grassroots resistance through collective projects that build homes, schools and water resources. Through cooperative action communities are directly challenging the Zionist’s right to occupy Palestinian land, at the same time as building strong communities that are ready to refuse to leave their land, and to continue to exist.
Now, we urgently need to world to wake up, recognise what is happening, and take action to stop the ethnic cleansing. According to Israel’s latest plans, it could all be over in 6 years if we don’t act now.
Whilst the Zionists are plotting to destroy the Bedouin communities in the
In early June 2011 the Settlement Division (1) of the Israeli government announced that they were doubling the amount of farmland allocated to each settler in the
They claim that the land used will be ‘state’ land, and not Palestinian private property – failing to acknowledge the principle of common land that has existed in the region for generations, and the fact that this is illegally occupied land to which settlers have no legal right.
David Lahiani, head of the settlers’ Jordan Valley Regional Council, seems not to have seen the irony when he told the Jerusalem Post that this expansion would give settler ‘farmers’ a sense of normality at a time when the future seems uncertain. Bedouin are systematically denied the right to any sense of security or normality. (2)
This doubling of land allocation to the settlements is being supported by increased settlement house building. In late 2010 the Israeli government approved funding for the construction of dozens of housing units in two settlements in the northern Jordan Valley (Maskiyot and Sdemot Mehola), which are located close to recent 2011 demolition sites of Bedouin communities in Al Maleh, Al Farisiya and Ein el Hilwa. No time has been wasted in starting construction, which has coincided with increased demolitions and harassment of Palestinian communities in this area.
The UN ‘Humanitarian Monitor’ details the drastic increase in demolitions of Palestinian homes, water resources and farm buildings in the
Jordan Valley Solidarity research shows that the number of Palestinian communities in the valley has been depleted from 52 communities in 1967, to 17 communities today. This has been achieved through a complex web of measures. Most visible are the brutal demolitions and destruction of homes and other buildings. More subtle, but equally repressive, is the denial of infrastructure and resources in Area C communities, making life so difficult that people slowly move into the areas where Israel wants to contain them: those designated as Area A and B under the Oslo accords.
Simultaneously, the over extraction of water by the Israeli water company, Mekarot, continues unabated. With planning laws that allow them to dig deeper wells, and pump water from areas throughout the
As Ben White wrote in Electronic Intifada:
“Thus in the de facto one state that exists between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River, Israeli authorities are currently planning mass expulsions of around 60,000 Palestinians, specifically in order to free up more territory for Jewish settlement. The Nakba never finished.”(3)
There is no question that the forced transfer of communities into ghettos is completely illegal under international law. In the words of the United Nations:
“International law prohibits the forced transfer of civilians, regardless of the motive or means used, unless temporarily required for their own security or military necessity. The intentional destruction or confiscation of private civilian property, including homes, as well as the transfer of settlers into occupied territory, is similarly prohibited. As an occupying power,
This is a dirty state-led military assault on common people and their common land.
By Sarah Cobham, Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity
(1) Technically, the Settlement Division is part of the World Zionist Organization, a nongovernmental agency. It has been contracted since 1967 to implement government-funded projects in the West Bank. In the last decade its mandate was expanded to include the Naqab and the Galilee.
(2) Jerusalem Post: “State gives more land to settler farms in Jordan Valley” By TOVAH LAZAROFF 29/06/2011
(3) Electronic Intifada: “Israel plans expulsion of some 60,000 Bedouin Palestinians” Ben White 10/11/2011
(4) UNITED NATIONS Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory: “Bedouin Relocation: Threat of Displacement in the Jerusalem Periphery”, October 2011