Klan Al Ahmar community is one of the Bedouin communities that we visit regularly. They live in the small camp in the dessert, made of tents and wooden terraces, as close as 20 minutes drive from East Jerusalem. Jahalin Bedouins have been living in this area ever since the early fifties after they had been exiled by Israel from their original homeland in the Negev dessert. Once, Khan al Ahmar used to be a quiet camp surrounded by hills and valleys of Judean dessert. Today the camp is shrinking due to expansion of illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumin. They are now stuck between 6 lanes motorway, sewage dump and ever increasing settlement. Even their livestock’s movement is constraint and the animals are not allowed to walk outside the camp to the nearby hills. Apparently, they pose a security threat to Israel.
Khan al Ahmar Bedouins have no water despite being based close to water pipes and no electricity despite electricity lines run on top of their heads. These are just several of many signs that confirm they, are unwanted people here. Among other Bedouin communities in the area they have been given eviction notices in 2011 and early 2012. Israeli authorities were planning to move them to Al - Elzahirya garbage dump (and build houses for them on the dump). For the moment these plans are put on hold. Which means that the Bedouin community in Khan Al Ahmar is waiting. Waiting anxiously like so many other Palestinian families.
Recently community in Khan Al Ahmar, thanks to the international support, managed to build a school for their youngest kids. Before the school made of mud and tyres was erected, some of them had to go as far as 22 kilometers to school to Jericho, sometimes on foot. This meant that girls were often prevented from going to school altogether as the route along the motorway was seen too risky by their parents. Today, some kids need to get through the sewage pipe in order to get to the classroom as there is no tunnel or bridge that would help them pass the highway safely. Nevertheless, finally they have school in their camp. Sadly, the school faces demolition order as in poses another ‘security’ threat to the adjacent Ma’ale Adumin settlement.
Abu Khamis, the head of the Khan Al Ahmar Bedouins launched a international campaign first to help build the school and now to keep the school going. The case continues in the court.
As much as 3000 Bedouins live in 20 communities in the hills around Jerusalem. Most of them live in the Israeli - military controlled Area C of the Palestinian West Bank. Around 90% of them have demolition orders. It means that they can be anytime evicted from their homes. They already are refugees - until 1948 they were living in the Negev dessert enjoying their traditional ways of life from where they had been evicted by the Israeli army.§
To learn more about Bedouin situation and eviction orders go to Israel Committee Against House Demolitions webiste: