In Pictures: West Bank Bedouins

Israel's plans to expand settlements in the E1 corridor represent a threat to poor Palestinian Bedouin communities.


Khan al-Ahmar, occupied Palestinian territories - Israeli authorities recently approved plans to build more settlement units in an area known as E1, which links Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim.

Khan al-Ahmar is part of a cluster of Bedouin communities living in or near the E1 corridor, and is deemed one of the few remaining obstacles to long-held Israeli plans to link the holy city directly with the third-largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Eid Khamis is the head of Khan al-Ahmar, a community that was forced to leave the Negev Desert during the 1948 war.

These Bedouin of the Jahalin clan set up their homes in a dusty valley - now nestled between the Israeli settlements of Kfar Adumim and Ma’aleh Adumim - about 10km from Jerusalem.

Khamis, 47, said the community's traditional way of life has been under threat by Israeli authorities for as long as he remembers. The encampment has no running water and is not connected to the electricity grid. Israel refuses to provide Khan al-Ahmar with basic infrastructure, and prevents it from building even to sustain the natural growth of its population.

And now, communities such as Khan al-Ahmar face a new threat, as Israeli authorities recently approved plans to build more settlement units.

The E1 expansion announcement came after Palestinians won an upgrade in their status at the UN General Assembly to non-member observer state.

According to the Palestinian negotiating team, if the proposed settlement building goes ahead, it would effectively bisect the West Bank and sever the physical link between Palestinian territories and Jerusalem.