Traditional Bedouin communities are at a “breaking point” in Israel and Palestine. They now face an impossible dilemma.
“Amid the rubble of Al-Aizariya you can see the fruits of compromise.
This shanty town of 3,000 Jahalin Bedouin lies just south of Jerusalem, a short walk from the city’s main garbage dump.
They are housed in scrap-metal shacks without water or electricity. Grazing animals, their primary source of income, bring diseases from the chemical waste nearby. Modern, permanent housing is slowly beginning to appear.
Despite these conditions, most Bedouin communities in Israel and Palestine would trade places in a heartbeat.
While unrecognised villages in the Negev and the Jordan Valley face new waves of demolitions, the Jahalin possess that most precious and elusive commodity: security.
Like the vast majority of Bedouins in the region, the residents of Al-Aizariya were based in the Negev until the Nakbah of 1948 forced them out.
They arrived here in 1997, via a second displacement on land now occupied by the Ma’ale Adummim settlement.
In return for their voluntary departure they were given around $10,000 compensation per family. More importantly, they were granted the rights to this wretched piece of land and eventually the right to build – today, there stands a modest school and health clinic. […]”
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