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Abu Jouseph, Muktar of Ras Al Bihad, By Giuliano Camarda-Redux.

Nowhere to Call Home: The Plight of Israel’s Bedouin Communities

This article and accompanying photo essay originally appeared in the ABC News “Picture This” blog – May 1, 2012 [Photo by Giuliano Camarda/Redux]

By By Lawrence Lai

Italian photographer Giuliano Camarda visited the Arab al-Jahalin tribe of Palestinian Bedouins in October 2011 and discovered what he describes as a people who have shown great determination and impressive resilience despite their hardships. He documented the lives of the residents in his stark and riveting “Forced Ethnic Relocation” photo essay.

About 20 Palestinian Bedouin communities make up the Arab al-Jahalin, living between Jerusalem and Jericho, in the occupied West Bank. In the West Bank’s Area C, where many of the communities are located, Israel retains control over security as well as planning and zoning.

The tribe was originally from the Negev desert, west of the Dead Sea, from which they either fled or were pushed out after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. They maintained their semi-nomadic lifestyle until most of their land was confiscated following Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War and they were made to relocate to where they’ve now lived for over 40 years.

In 1996, the Israeli High Court voted to evict the Bedouins to allow the expansion of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, but they were eventually permitted to lease the state land that had previously belonged to the Palestinian town of Abu Dis.

Living without electricity, sanitation, running water or medical facilities, the Arab al-Jahalin communities endure a harsh existence. They graze their sheep between garbage and debris, said Camarda, and despite the court’s decision to permit them to lease the land, over the past 15 years, they have been subject to demolition of homes, requisitions of their livestock, and attacks by Israeli settlers.

Then, in November 2011, the Israeli Civil Administration drafted plans to move the Bedouin communities next to the Jerusalem municipal garbage dump, the largest repository of waste in the area. According to a Dec. 6, 2011, article in the British newspaper The Guardian, the communities weren’t notified of the relocation plans.

The Bedouins say the move would jeopardize their lifestyle as nomads, denying them land to tend to their livestock, and exposing them health hazards. On April 17, 2012, a film was released, directed by Harvey Stein and produced by Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, about the plight of the al-Jahalin.

Original article and photo essay:

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