by Jenn, Jayyus team
Cranes dot the skyline of an East Jerusalem that is growing. It is growing upwards and it is growing outwards. For some. For others, their boundaries are set, and they are shrinking. It is a simple formula, settlement expansion for the Israeli population is equal to demolitions and displacement of the Palestinian population. In no place is this formula more stark than in the E1 one area and the space surrounding the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim located in the Jerusalem periphery.
The E1 area is located North-East of Jerusalem and to the west of Ma’ale Adumim. Ma’ale Adumim is the third largest settlement in the West Bank and is home to almost 40,000 Israeli settlers. There are currently about 27,000 Bedouin refugees in the Jerusalem Area. 3,000 of which live in the Ma’ale Adumim area and 1,700 of these which lie in the E1 area. The expansion of Ma’ale Adumim and the plan for future Israeli construction in E1 threatens existing populations in the surrounding areas, but none more so than the Jahalin Bedouin community.
The year 2013, saw the rise of a new trend: that of demolishing whole communities and thus, displacing all their inhabits. Last year, four whole communities were entirely demolished: Bir Nabala/Tel al Adassa, Az Za’ayyem, Makhul, and Ein Ayoub. In total, 189 people were left without access to land.
This photo essay will focus on the Jahalin of Az Za’ayyem. Az Za’ayyem is home to ten Jahalin Bedouin families and is located in the E1 area. In September of 2013, 8 homes in Az Za’ayyem were demolished as well as several kitchen units, sanitary units and animal shelters. 47 people were displaced, 20 of whom were children. Now, 4 months later, the town has yet to rebuild. Heaps of rubble, that were once homes, are piled around the wooden and sheet metal structures that are now the remaining homes of the Jahalin of Az Za’ayyem.
Unfortunately, whole communities facing displacement, demolitions and forced evictions is not a unique situation in Palestine. But in this case the very way of life of the Jahalin is threatened. Semi-Nomadic herders, the Bedouin require open spaces and adequate pasture land for their flocks to flourish. The Jahalin are a people that value freedom and movement. As it stands many have been forced to sell their animals and resort to work in nearby settlements in order to feed their families and maintain a living. Any suggested compensation for the displacement by the Israeli authorities, amounting to a small patch of land and minimal infrastructure in the Jericho region, is nothing more than an affront to their way of life.
“We must always remember that settlement expansion is a problem, but not just in itself, but because expansion comes at the expense of the people, the families and entire communities that are displaced or made homeless.” ~Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Israeli human rights activist
In the case of the Jahalin and other Bedouin communities, continued expansion of Israeli settlements not only leave them homeless, but also threatens their livelihood and their very way of life.
Ma’ale Adumim recently came to the forefront of popular media when Scarlett Johannson became the celebrity ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli company that runs a factory located in the industrial zone of Ma’ale Adumim. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
Twisted scrap metal lies in front of the salvaged wood and metal structures of the Az Za’ayyem Jahalin Bedouin community. Semi-abandoned Palestinian apartment blocks lie in the background. Once desirable these homes have decreased drastically in market value as inhabitants have suffered from economic difficulties and a strict permit regime that denies many the right to live in Jerusalem. Many have left in order to avoid future displacement or to seek better opportunities. Photo EAPPI/K. Ranta.
The dirt roadway of the Jahalin camp winds its way between the rubble that is almost all that remains of their former homes, animal shelters, kitchen and sanitary units. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
Bedouin homes with canvas roofs lie in the foreground, while in the distance red tiled settlement houses lie in neat tiers. Unpaved dirt roads serve the Bedouin communities of the Jerusalem periphery as the Israeli authorities refuse to recognise their camps and provide them with necessary infrastructure and services. However, the surrounding settlements, recognised as illegal under international law by the international community, enjoy developed infrastructure, access to medical, electricity and water services, paved roads and funded schooling. The juxtaposition is quite stark. Photo EAPPI/K. Ranta.
The Jahalin’ camps, their homes, their school and their animal shelters are all slated for demolition or have been demolished already. Many have been rebuilt several times only to be demolished once more. Afraid to build more permanent structures to house their livestock, sheep stay in open pens., for fear that building adequate shelter will lead to the demolition of the shelter as well as any remaining structures. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
The bones and wool of a dead sheep lie in the foreground. This winter was harsh and as a result many sheep were lost to exposure or were slaughtered, eaten or sold, in order to reap some benefit for the livelihood of the Jahalin. In these Jahalin camps animals die regularly from adverse weather or due to lack of adequate food or water. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
A Jahalin man and some boys stand next to one of the few green areas in their village were sheep can graze. The area is surrounded by the rubble of former Jahalin structures. Also note the wires that lie to the left of the photo. These wires cross the entire camp, providing electricity and water to the inhabitants. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
Unrecognised villages are denied access to services such as running water and electricity by the Israeli authorities. As a result the Bedouin of the Jerusalem periphery have limited access to potable water or electricity. Often they rely on water bought from tankers at increased cost or water from wells and electricity supplied by generators or ‘illegal’ hook-ups to nearby towns. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
In Az’zayyem electricity wires lie along the roadways and snake across large areas, across and around rubble and from house to house. Notice the wire entering under the roof of the corrugated shack. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.
The Jahalin Bedouin of the Jerusalem periphery suffer from poor infrastructure and lack access to basic services. This image show the run off of raw sewage that winds throughout the edge of the camp. Uncontained the smell of sewage is strong. The Jahalin of this community now lack many basic sanitary facilities after their destruction in September 2013 and have no sewage system. Photo EAPPI/J. Byrne.