Situation of Bedouin communities relocated by Israel unsustainable: new study

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Bedouin community

The situation of 150 Palestine refugee Bedouin families transferred against their will by Israel, has become socially and economically "non viable", according to a joint UNRWA-Bimkom report.

The study, the first of its kind analyses the consequences of the relocation which started in 1997 in order to expand the Ma'ale Adummim settlement, which, like all settlements is illegal under international law.

The study highlights the deterioration of the social and economic conditions of the Bedouin refugees transferred to Al Jabal village. It says the move to one central urban location has deprived these mobile pastoralist communities of social cohesion and is destroying their social fabric and traditional economic base.

Al Jabal village is next to the largest rubbish dump in the West Bank, where 700 tonnes of waste are disposed of each day. According to recent environmental studies, there are "high levels of toxic gases, which pose an immediate health threat to residents, but also cause internal and surface combustion at the dump site leading to explosions, land subsidence, surface fires and other safety hazards.

Planning NGO, BIMKOM contends that the types of urban plans developed by the Israeli authorities for Al Jabal are not an appropriate solution.

The rural communities targeted to be transferred to the second village rejected the move, stating it will irreparably damage their social fabric and their traditional economy, as in the case of Al Jabal.

According to UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness, "the Israeli authorities are currently considering plans to create a second centralised Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank". "However", says Gunness "the stark conclusions of this report may lead to a reassessment of this policy".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’38″

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