The Bedouin Communities East of Jerusalem – A Planning Survey
Khan Al-Ahmar Communities
The starting point for every future solution proposed to the Bedouin population in the area is that any step must be carried out as part of a dialogue and consultation with the residents themselves, with the goal of bringing about an improvement in their living conditions, while offering a solution for their needs from every standpoint – living accommodations, hook-up to infrastructure, supply of public services, provision of areas for grazing and land cultivation, and additional employment solutions for the entire population. To the extent that a particular community requests to continue living in its historical place of residence, all of the conditions that will enable this must be arranged, including allocation of the necessary land, alongside the annulment of expropriation and seizure orders and orders for the closure of an area for military and security purposes, updating and modification of current approved plans that limit the possibilities for development of the Bedouin communities, and formalization of the residents’ status on the land in a manner mutually agreed upon by the Bedouin residents. Allocation of the land shall be carried out, to the extent possible, on properly administered and state lands whose status has been resolved.
- In order to address the need for providing services on a high level to this population that occupies a number of scattered localities, three regional public service centers should be established that will serve several localities located in their vicinity:
o One center should be established in the area of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar, west of Al-Mihtwish near the intersection of Road 1 and Road 437 (see map no. …), and serving the localities of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar, Bir Al-Maskoob, Wadi Sneysel, Al-Kassara, Ghawaliya, Nkheila and Al-Fuqara.
o A second center should be established west of Ma’ale Adumim (in one of the two alternatives marked on map no.), to serve the localities of Jabal Al-Baba, Wadi Jimel, Abu Nuwar, Wadi Al-A’waj, Wadi Abu As-Suwan.
o A third center should be established south of Ma’ale Adumim (see location on map no. …), and will serve the localities of Wadi Abu Hindi and Al-Muntar.
The centers will provide regional public services for the localities they serve: schools, infirmaries, places of employment, religious buildings etc., and access to them will be ensured from all of the localities served. For purposes of establishing the centers, state lands shall be officially allocated, to the extent possible; in cases where there are no state lands available in a suitable location, their establishment will be carried out in agreement with relevant private landowners.
An additional level of services will be provided in the localities, in keeping with the needs of the population and the lifestyle maintained by their residents. Due to limitations on movement outside of the localities, preschools will be established within the localities, as well as employment centers and training programs for women.
- Arrangements must be made for appropriate grazing areas that are accessible to all of the localities, in order to enable the continued herding of livestock as an integral element in the local Bedouin society, and as a key economic foundation for the livelihood of the residents. The grazing areas can be common to several localities, and even to all of them, on condition that they are open, accessible and available to all. In addition, allocation of land for animal pens and structures for the raising of domestic animals must be arranged for within the localities.
The Bedouin population east of Jerusalem is not cut off from the surrounding world and from broad social and economic processes of development and progress. It is a population undergoing processes of change and modernization that affect social arrangements and old customs, and it is clear that customs and traditions will vanish from the world as part of these processes. And yet, in order to cope with these changes and to take part in them, these processes must rest firmly on a foundation of complete participation by the Bedouin residents, and accommodation of their needs. The present situation, in which this population is subject to changes imposed upon it that weaken and break down the social and economic foundations of the Bedouin society, can lead only to the destruction of these communities. These processes can only succeed if they take place at a pace of advancement desired by the community, and upon a basis of proper planning of a physical, social and economic infrastructure that enables gradual transitions within the communities, while ensuring economic flourishing and a true improvement in the living conditions of their members.