In light of the successful blocking of the previous plan and the wide public and international criticism:
Civil Administration to Publish New Plan Removing the Jahalin Tribe from Its Land
Khan al Ahmar, April 18, 2013. According to assessments, the Israeli Minister of Defense has recently approved a Master Plan to forcibly transfer approximately 2500 Bedouin from the Jahalin Tribe to a small, concentrated area in Nwei’mah, adjacent to Jericho. The plan is likely to be published in the coming days and represents another step in attempts to displace Palestinians from strategic locations in Area C of the West Bank.
The Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) have prepared two different options for the 23 Jerusalem periphery Bedouin communities. The Nwei’mah plan is the latest, with a previous proposal to move some of these communities to the area of the Jerusalem Municipality rubbish site in Abu Dis, a plan which was met with public and international criticism for its severe consequences for the communities living in the area since the 1950’s. The current Nwei’mah plan to move communities to an area adjacent to area A would critically impact the Bedouins’ access to livelihoods and traditional ways of life as well as causing overcrowding and restricting availability of grazing land for the community. The plan was prepared without the consultation or the knowledge of the residents; the plan does not take into consideration their unique lifestyle but creates a system that would severely harm them. For a community that already suffers extreme poverty and lack of planning solutions that meet its needs, this step might spell disaster.
Adv. Shlomo Lecker, who represents the Jahalin Bedouin, said “I have been representing the Bedouin Jahalin tribe for more than 20 years and during this time they have survived repeated attempts on the part of Israeli authorities to displace them by different policies and practices. Today, after failing to achieve their goal by other means, the Israeli authorities present a new plan to relocate those communities in what may amount to forcible transfer.”
Architect Alon Cohen-Lifshitz from BIMKOM, said: “The authorities must promote planning solutions for the Bedouin communities in area C, however such solutions cannot serve the extraneous purpose of displacing protected communities from their homes. Any planning solution should be made in consultation with the residents and having their agreement.”
The representative of the Khan al Ahmar community, Eid Jahalin, said: “We have been verbally informed of the new plan, and we refuse to accept it; the only two acceptable options are either to go back to our homeland in the Negev or to stay in our present location.”
The Jahalin Tribe was forcibly displaced from their original places of residence in the Negev in the early 1950s to the West Bank. Following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank the land available for the Bedouin to live and graze their livestock has steadily decreased due to Israeli-declared military firing zones, settlements and state land declarations.
Individual or mass forcible transfer is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, regardless of motive. The term ‘forcible’ is not restricted to physical force, but may include threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power against a person or persons, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment. A violation of this is considered a Grave Breach of Article 49, Geneva Convention IV.