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Jahalin Solidarity – Mission Statement

Jahalin Solidarity is a Palestinian non-profit, registered in 2016 in Ramallah, which aims to develop and work with Palestinian society (especially Bedouin but also others in Area C and East Jerusalem) targeted for transfer and forcible displacement.  As such, Jahalin Solidarity represents an initiative of civil society dedicated to protecting the rights of Bedouin and other Palestinians living under occupation, especially those living in a coercive environment of ongoing demolitions and imminent forced eviction by the Israeli military authorities.  Jahalin Solidarity works in solidarity with Bedouin and other Palestinian civil society to support their struggle to stay where they have lived for the past 60+ years in the Jerusalem periphery or elsewhere, to uphold the Palestinian Right of Return and end the Israeli occupation.

Jahalin Solidarity’s mission is therefore to work towards recognition of the full rights of civil society, while working in solidarity to prevent forcible displacement through effective public or legal advocacy (including targeting duty-bearers such as the PA or the wider international community) especially by community capacity building and empowerment, so that the grassroots voice is better heard.

This work is carried out with civil society groups so:

  • Civil society becomes better equipped to conduct public advocacy;
  • Civil society be capacity raised to be better able to defend its rights;
  • The Bedouin voice is better heard in claiming its specific rights.

Jahalin Solidarity’s vision to achieve the above is by empowering civil society (including Bedouin refugees, but also the wider Palestinian public) to demand its rights.  It especially works to enable civil society to deliver its message by implementing strategic training’s or by carrying out strategic advocacy in consultation with those facing displacement.

 

Clans from five tribes of the Negev Bedouin entered the West Bank seeking refugee status with UNRWA following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. As with all refugee communities, each tribe has its own historical account of the steps which led to its expulsion and its subsequent plight. The Jahalin Tribe is the largest refugee tribe in the West Bank today.

Bedouin from the Sea Level Community, near Jericho, July 2014. Photo by Jens Schwarz.
Bedouin from the Sea Level Community, near Jericho, July 2014. Photo by Jens Schwarz.

The Bedouin of the Jahalin Tribe originate from the Tel Arad district of the Negev desert. Their traditional tribal territory ranges from 50km north‐east of Bir Sheva to 30km west of the Dead Sea and 30km south of Hebron City. Tribal history relates that from 1949 the Israeli Authorities began a campaign of forced evacuation against the Bedouin in the Tel Arad region. Refusing to collaborate with the IDF, the Jahalin came under increasing pressure from the Israeli forces to leave their lands. Physical and psychological violence increased, resulting in the demolition and burning of homes and the fatal shootings of at least five of the Jahalin by Israeli troops. Following the shootings and ongoing violence, the Jahalin Tribe fled their tribal territories to the edges of the Negev, before moving into Jordan and the West Bank, seeking refugee status with UNRWA in the early 1950s.

Children from the Sea Level Bedouin Community, July 2014. Photo by Jens Schwarz.
Children from the Sea Level Bedouin Community, July 2014. Photo by Jens Schwarz.

Our strategy has four pillars of action:

  • Mobilize an effective emergency advocacy response to the threat using external experts working side-by-side with Jahalin spokespeople;
  • Leverage others’ experience to develop community independence through intensive capacity-building;
  • Enhance community resilience by improving their ability to earn, by developing income generating projects and by safeguarding their traditional knowledge;
  • Keep community interests uppermost and to work strategically to achieve those interests.