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Israel freezes plan to move East Jerusalem Bedouin to site near garbage dump- Ha'aretz

Civil Administration pushed for plan’s approval, despite opposition from green, human rights groups

June 29 2012

A Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe walking in his encampment near Ma’aleh Adumim, seen in the background, in June, 2012. Photo by Reuters

“The state has suspended a plan to forcibly relocate Bedouin from East Jerusalem to a site next to a city garbage dump. The state told the High Court of Justice two weeks ago it was putting off the plan until surveys were conducted to assess the environmental repercussions and hazards involved.

Some 2,400 Palestinian Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe petitioned the High Court against the state’s intention to evict them from their village and relocate hundreds of them, against their will, to a neighborhood barely 75 meters from a landfill site in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.

Since the Civil Administration prepared the relocation plan in 2005, officials in charge of environmental affairs have warned against settling people so close to an active landfill site. The officials even voted against the plan at one stage. But the Civil Administration went ahead with the plan despite the warnings and even speeded it up at the end of last year, according to documents that the state attached to its response to the petition. “Nowhere in the world or in Israel are people housed near an active pirate garbage dump… it’s irresponsible to place people there,” said Nitzan Levy, CEO of the Municipal Environmental Associations of Judea and Samaria..

But this too did not stop the administration from moving ahead with the plan. Earlier this year the state promised the Bedouin leaders and senior UN officials that the Bedouin community would not be required to move next to the garbage dump, as was initially proposed. But since then various Civil Administration inspectors and officials have told the Bedouin that their forced relocation to an unknown place was drawing closer, prompting the Bedouin to file a High Court petition against their eviction. The petition also protests the fact that the administration planned their relocation without consulting them. The petition was submitted by five members of the recently formed Bedouin Protection Committee and the NGO, Bimkom Planners for Planning Rights.


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