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Ha'aretz: Bedouin community wins reprieve from forcible relocation to Jerusalem garbage dump

February 6 2012

Sources say change in plans follows a visit to the Jahalin encampment at Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank last week of the coordinator of government activities in the territories

The Bedouin community that lives just east of Jerusalem will not be required to move next to the Abu Dis garbage dump, as initially proposed, and the Civil Administration will provide another permanent site where they will be able to settle.

The Bedouin, who are from the Jahalin tribe, will be given the opportunity to review and comment on the new proposal but will not be consulted before it is drawn up, Palestinian sources said.

Italian architect Valerio Marazzi, Bedouin Italian architect Valerio Marazzi, who designed and built a school for the Jahalin Bedouin tribe.
Photo by: Alex Levac

The change in plans, the sources said, follows a visit to the Jahalin encampment at Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank last week by Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

Dangot was speaking during a meeting Wednesday with a Bedouin representative and Bassam Erekat, the Palestinian Education Ministry official in charge of the Jerusalem area.

The initial plan to forcibly move hundreds of Bedouin to the site near the Abu Dis dump was initially disclosed in September by Haaretz.

It sparked opposition from the Jahalin tribe and a number of Israeli and international human rights groups.

Shlomo Lecker, an Israeli lawyer, has filed a number of court petitions over the years in an effort to stop the demolition of Bedouin structures. Organizations affiliated with the United Nations have come out against uprooting the Bedouin, and the European Union condemned the initial plan.

Although the Civil Administration appears to be backtracking on the relocation to Abu Dis, it is not retracting its plan to concentrate the Bedouin population of the area in one location, which is contrary to their traditional nomadic lifestyle.

Dangot and his delegation assured the Jahalin tribe that their school in Khan al-Ahmar would be allowed to remain standing until the tribe moves to the new site, the Palestinian sources said. A demolition order has been issued for the school, which is built out of tires and mud.

The Bedouin have also been told that the tents and shacks they erected without Civil Administration approval, which were also slated for demolition, will not be removed, the sources said.

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