Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian Bedouin community in West Bank

Israeli settlers, with the support of the army, attacked a Palestinian Bedouin community in the West Bank, on Sunday, according to local sources.

Nader Kaabneh, a member of the Al-Kaabneh community, told Wafa News Agency that dozens of settlers and soldiers stormed five residential blocks in the Wadi Qelt area and subjected residents to interrogations, terrorising children and women.

He further said that the Bedouin community has since long been a victims of settler violence and army attacks to drive the residents out of the area for the expansion of Israeli settlements, which have increased in the past ten days.

Wadi Qelt is a valley in the West Bank with a unique natural environment, rich wild bird population and heritage sites of great importance. The valley is formed along with a stream originating near Jerusalem and running into the Jordan River near Jericho, shortly before it flows into the Dead Sea.

The semi-nomadic Bedouin tribes had a historic existence in the region spread across the expansive lands in the Naqab Desert which ended abruptly with the formation of the state of Israel. Most of them joined the Palestinians fleeing their homelands during the nakba in 1948 after the Israeli forces unleashed a brutal campaign expelling around 8 lakh natives. 

Many of them continued to herd their livestock between Ramallah, Wadi Qelt and Jerusalem until large plots of land were confiscated by the military to create new Israeli settlements extending their occupation of the West Bank. 

Some migrated to the area off the Jerusalem-Jericho highway, which, after the Oslo Accords fell under complete Israeli military and administrative control.

Photo Source: [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

Aimed at expanding the vast Ma’ale Adumim settlement, Israel demolished many of the houses and evacuated their inhabitants away on trucks to live in containers beside a garbage dump. A separation wall was then built isolating the remaining community from East Jerusalem, the main market where they sold the milk and cheese made from their remaining livestock.

The Bedouins have a history of struggle spanning decades to remain on their land. For the traditional rural communities, the current chain of attacks is yet another chapter in Israel’s long history of eviction projects targeting their existence.

Israel does not allow the Bedouin community to gain proper access to running water and electricity, and the remaining communities living in groups, stand with the daily threat of demolition and displacement.

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