Israel plans expulsion of some 60,000 Bedouin Palestinians

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has drawn attention to plans by the Israeli government to expel 27,000 Bedouin Palestinians who currently live in what is known as ‘Area C’ of the West Bank.

The Civil Administration (CA) is planning to expel the Bedouin communities living in Area C in the West Bank, transferring some 27,000 persons from their homes. In the first phase, planned as early as January 2012, some 20 communities, comprising 2,300 persons, will be forcibly transferred to a site near the Abu Dis refuse dump, east of Jerusalem.

Area C, making up around 60 percent of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is where most Israeli colonisation is concentrated, e.g. the largest settlements, military training zones, etc. (For more information on Area C see these UN reports from August 2011 and August 2010).

Palestinians who live in Area C have long faced severe discrimination under Israeli military rule, particularly when it comes to issues of housing. For example, a UN survey in 2008 found that 94 percent of building permit applications by Palestinians were denied by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Meanwhile, it was only a month ago that the Israeli cabinet approved a plan for the Negev that means the forcible relocation of around 30,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens.

As I wrote at the time, this ‘transfer’ plan is directly linked to efforts to ‘Judaize’ the Negev: as Ramat Negev Regional Council mayor Shmuel Rifman put it, if the Israeli government does not “finalise the Bedouin settlement it will be very hard to enhance Jewish settlement in the Negev”.

In the West Bank, the same logic is at work. UN OCHA have also just released a factsheet on the displacement of Bedouin near Jerusalem in which they note:

The Bedouin’s current homes are located in an area that holds strategic significance for further expansion of Israeli settlements.

Thus in the de facto one state that exists between the Mediterranean  Sea and Jordan River, Israeli authorities are currently planning mass expulsions of around 60,000 Palestinians, specifically in order to free up more territory for Jewish settlement. The Nakba never finished.

( / Ben White / 11.10.2011)

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