BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Dozens of Palestinian families living in the Bedouin Abu Nuwwar village to the east of Jerusalem will be forced from their land in less than a month, locals told Ma’an on Saturday.
Israeli authorities are evacuating the families to clear way for the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, which lies to the west of Abu Nuwwar.
Abu Nuwwar is one of several Bedouin villages facing evacuation due to plans by Israeli authorities to build thousands of homes for Jewish-only settlements in the so-called E1 corridor, despite international outcry.
Settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — almost impossible.
The most recent plans in E1 will see Bedouin families forced from 389 dunams (98 acres) of land, which will be used to build more than 1,500 settler homes.
A spokesman for the Bedouin families Dawoud al-Jahalin told Ma’an that the Civil Administration had sent a “representative to negotiate with the Bedouin families, who made several offers to convince the residents to move to another location.”
He said that the alternative location suggested was a hill west of Al-Ezariya where Palestinian activists have in the past set up a protest camp known as “the Gate to Jerusalem.” Israeli forces have demolished the protest camp several times.
Al-Jahalin said that the Civil Administration representative warned that the Israeli authorities would not allow any Bedouin families to remain in the area, as they had deemed it “state property.”
The representative urged them to move to the other location, telling them that Israel had leveled the area in order to set up 34 mobile houses for Bedouin families, adding that another location would be earmarked for more Bedouin families at a later stage.
An Israeli Civil Administration officer previously stated that three tracts of land measuring 500 square meters each were being prepared to absorb 34 Bedouin families. The preparation of each tract of land had cost 230,000 shekels, the officer said.
The Bedouin families said that they will turn down any Israeli offer and will remain in their land in Abu al-Nuwwar.
Israeli action in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, President Mahmoud Abbas saying that “E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed.”