The following are selections from a photo essay by Gabriel Romero, in association with the Alexia Foundation and ZUMA Press — launched May 26, 2014 on zReportage.com:
The West Bank is an Israeli-occupied, Palestinian territory that is home to approximately 17,000 Bedouin tribespeople. This population is comprised of five separate tribes who are traditionally nomadic and agro-pastoralist. These Bedouin originate in the Negev Desert but, following the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel, they were forced to move from the Negev and into an area west of the Jordan River, at that time administered by Jordan. Following the 1967 Six Day War, they found themselves under the administration of an Israeli government that has occupied the area known as the West Bank ever since.
The current plight of these Bedouin is a tragic consequence of the occupation, under which they endure crippling poverty and degradation. Israel’s introduction of a separation wall in 2004, and its expansion of illegal Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank have further pushed the Bedouin into small, slum-like camps, effectively ending their nomadic existence. The Israeli government does not permit the Bedouin to build permanent structures and the army – with little or no warning – regularly destroys their temporary ones under the pretext of a violation of the law.
The future of the Bedouin throughout the West Bank is extremely uncertain. They are now facing a breakdown of their traditional culture and simply have nowhere left to go. Life has always been tough for these nomadic Arab tribes, but they now face a great challenge from the Israeli authorities settling Israeli citizens in the area.
Check out the full-photo essay “Nowhere Left to Go” and more of Gabriel’s work at: http://www.thepicturesoftheday.com/zReportage.html?num=zrep528
GABRIEL ROMERO is based in Los Angeles, California, and is represented by ZUMA Press. He specializes in local and international news in the areas of conflict, environmental, and humanitarian coverage. Most recently his work has focused on Middle Eastern issues. (© Gabriel Romero /ZUMAPRESS.com)