Israel Demolishing Bedouin Homes on Land Settlers Covet by Jerusalem

Twelve days after protesters demanded that Israel build in the E1 area, the Civil Administration has issued stop-work orders against the Salamat tribe.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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A Jewish settler looking at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.
A Jewish settler looking at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.Credit: AP
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

The Israeli authorities in the West Bank have delivered 18 stop-work orders for buildings belonging to Bedouin near Jerusalem – 12 days after right-wing protesters demanded that Israel build in the area.

Because of American pressure, Israel has been forced to delay expansion plans in the area, known as E1, for years. E1 connects Jerusalem with the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.

The stop-work orders affect 35 Bedouin families who live on a hill north of the Palestinian town of Al-Azariya – roughly 240 people, including 150 children.

As is customary when such orders are issued, members of the tribe – in this case the Salamat tribe – were summoned to a meeting of the Civil Administration’s inspection subcommittee, to take place on Sunday.

But since the land is not privately owned by the Bedouin, or land with a master plan intended for the Palestinians, the Bedouin will not be able to receive construction permits.

Area residents recently replaced the tin huts they had been living in for decades with prefab structures with plastic and polystyrene walls, which provide better insulation against the heat or cold. The prefab structures, donated by European organizations, were funded by the European Union.

Like the Salamat tribe, four Bedouin communities nearby, Ksarat-tribe communities, also replaced their tin huts with prefab structures donated by a European organization. Their tin huts had been damaged in December’s storm.

The four communities received stop-work and demolition orders for the structures on the grounds of illegal construction.

In mid-January, in response to a petition by attorney Slomo Lecker, an interim injunction by Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman froze the demolition of the Ksarat buildings.

Lecker asked why the Bedouin received stop-work and demolition orders when they had tried to improve their living conditions without adding buildings or enlarging the area on which they live.

The Salamat and Ksarat communities are among Bedouin living in the large area overlooked by Ma’aleh Adumim and another settlement, Kfar Adumim. This area is both inside and adjacent to E1.

The Civil Administration has already announced that it intends to settle these communities in permanent housing elsewhere.

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