According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, around 7,000 Bedouin residing in the central West Bank are at risk of being forcibly relocated by Israeli authorities. The plan, which aims to transfer thousands of Bedouin to three designated villages, has been met with condemnation by international human rights organisations, who say it could have grave consequences for the preservation of the Bedouin lifestyle.
While many Bedouin families are protesting the demolition orders issued against their tents and houses, Israel’s Civil Administration has underlined its obligation to “enforce lawless construction made without permits”, stressing that “no one is resistant from enforcement”.
The removal of Bedouin from their land is not new: Besides being forced to flee from the Negev desert between 1948 and 1951, 150 Bedouin families were violently transferred from their homes in the late 1990s to make way for the expansion of Maaleh Adumim, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Some have nicknamed the Bedouin “the protectors of the two-state solution”, as some 2,300 Jahalin Bedouins live in the E1 area, where Israel intends to build settlements and infrastructure to close the gap between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim. Many fear this would kill the prospect of a Palestinian state.