* Negotiated Eviction of the Jahalin Bedouin *

Manfred Theis (manfredtheis@hotmail.com)
Sat, 28 Nov 1998 12:32:22 PST


----Original Message Follows----

The Bedouin were, until recently, keepers of the caves wherein the Dead 
Sea Scrolls were kept, for a very long time.  They may be all that is 
left of the Essenes.  They're about to become homeless.


From: Erin Martin <erinmartin@usa.net>

Urgent Action: Negotiated Eviction of the Jahalin Bedouin 

               Thirty five Bedouin families are approaching the end of 
negotiations on their forced eviction and relocation. In order to ensure 
that they are afforded basic minimal living conditions, the Jahalin need 
your expressions of support. 
               
Groups of Jahalin Bedouin have been
living in encampments near the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim in
the West Bank. The State claims that the Jahalin are squatting on
state-owned land. In addition, Israel appears motivated by a desire to
push Palestinians out of Area C - - that part of the West Bank which 
remains under complete Israeli control. This would strengthen Israel's 
negotiating position on the future of these areas.

                In January 1997, the first group of
Jahalan were evicted from the area around Ma'ale Adumim and relocated to 
a site very close to the Abu Dis garbage dump. In February 1998, an
additional Jahalin encampment was destroyed. Although their belongings
were taken to the Abu Dis site, this group of 35 families refused to
move. After a week-long stand-off, Israel's High Court ordered that the 
Bedouin be permitted to stay until their case was resolved. 

               Defense Minister Yizhak Mordechai
appointed General Raphael Vardi to determine how to effect the transfer 
of the Jahalin to the Abu-Dis site. Upon General Vardi's mediation, the 
Civil Administration has agreed to negotiate with the Jahalin's lawyer, 
Mr. Shlomo Lecker. Negotiations are expected to conclude, and the two 
sides sign an agreement, within the next two weeks. 

               In spite of its undesirability for
a number of reasons, most of the Jahalin are willing to move to the Abu 
Dis site. However, they first require certain conditions to make the 
site liveable:
 *       Israel must provide basic infrastructure of water,
electricity and sewerage; 
 *       In order to prevent overcrowding and future evictions, the
Jahalin require that each family be given title to a plot of land of
sufficient size.
 *       The Jahalin require building permits and the funds to
build.
 *       The Jahalin require a near-by site to graze their flocks. 

               Israeli and international pressure on behalf of the 
Jahalin has proven to be effective. The fact that Israel is offering the 
Jahalin any housing alternative and negotiating
about the terms of the eviction is due to the attention that this issue 
has received. Now is the time to express your support for the Jahalin. 
Please send faxes to the individuals below. Communications should be 
polite and acknowledge that the Civil Administration has shown new 
willingness to come to an agreement with the Jahalin. We request that 
they be provided the conditions which will allow them to live in 
dignity, and that all aspects of the move and construction be 
fullyfunded. 
              
Faxes should be sent to: 
              
1. Defense Minister, YitzhakMordechai, Fax: 972-3-6976218 
               
2. Head of the Civil
Administration, Dov Tzadaka, Fax: 972-2-9977341 
               
3. Coordinator of Activities in the
Territories, General Ya'akov Or, Fax: 972 2 9977356, 
               
Please send a copy of your letters
to B'Tselem, mail@btselem.org or fax:972-2-5610756               

                  SAMPLE LETTER
      
Dear Defense Minister Mordechai,                             
  
I am writing to you to commend you on your willingness to negotiate
with the Jahalin Bedouin and express my hope that you will provide the
infrastructure, funding and support which will allow the Jahalin to make 
this difficult transition with dignity.                             
  
The thirty-five families whose homes were destroyed in February are
willing to attempt the drastic changes in their lifestyle which the
proposed move will entail, but must be provided the basic conditions
which will allow them to make the adjustment. Just as Israel compensated 
the residents of Yamit when it evacuated the Sinai, I ask that you fully 
fund the costs of the move, the building of homes and infrastructure and 
the support required to deal with the trauma of transition. 
               
Winter is upon us, and I also request that the Jahalin be allowed to 
carry out the preparations necessary to remain in their current location 
until the move is effected. At the very least, each family must be 
allowed to build a tin structure.                 
------------------------------- 
              B'Tselem: The Israeli Information
Center for Human Rights in the       Occupied Territories is the
leading Israeli organization monitoring, documenting and advocating to
improve human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Founded in 1989,
B'Tselem publishes reports, engages in advocacy and serves as a
resourcecenter. 
              43 Emek Refaim Street      Jerusalem 93141 ISRAEL 
              Telephone: 972-2-5617271      Fax: 972-2-561-0756 
              mail@btselem.org      http://www.btselem.org





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