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Environmental hazards threaten Jahalin- American Charities for Palestine

Environmental hazards threaten  the health and livelihoods of uprooted Jahalin Bedouins


August 2012

The Abu Dis garbage dump, near the Palestinian town of Abu Dis situated east of Jerusalem, poses an ongoing health hazard to Bedouin communities living nearby.

The good news is that initial plans to “forcibly relocate some 2,300 Bedouin living in the area of the Ma’ale Adummim settlement to a site near the Abu Dis refuse dump” have been cancelled. The quoted words come from the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, which noted the public health threat in its 2011 Annual Report, released earlier this year.

Amira Hass reported the initial reprieve against the forcible resettlement in February, following the outcry from the Jahalin, as well as Israeli and international human rights groups, the United Nations and the European Union. In late June, Hass confirmed that the plan has been suspended “until surveys were conducted to assess the environmental repercussions and hazards involved.”

A Bedouin member of the Jahalin tribe walks in his encampment. The Ma’aleh Adumim settlement can be seen in the background (Photo courtesy of Reuters).

The intended site was “barely 75 meters” away from the active landfill. An environmental survey found that the dump may be hazardous and at risk of explosion. This did not prevent the Civil Administration’s assistant legal advisor from stating in 2006 that “hazards are measurable and the question is whether there are hazards [we] can live with.”

However, many already live near the waste site. B’Tselem’s report notes that “in the early 1990s, in order to expand the Ma’ale Adummim settlement, Israel already moved members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe to the site next to the Abu Dis dump,” which is “a health hazard for persons living nearby.”


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