The Israeli army on Thursday ordered some 300 Bedouin to evacuate their homes in a village near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.
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The Bedouin are all from the Jahalin tribe and say their tribe has been living in the area around Jabal al-Baba since being expelled from the Negev in 1948.
The evacuation orders issued by the Israel Defense Forces require the Bedouin to move from the village ahead of the demolition of the camp’s structures. However, the order is a preliminary stage in the demolition process and is not expected to be carried out any time soon.
Aerial photographs accompanying the evacuation orders show that most of the illegal structures in the encampment – a few dozen buildings in total – are all temporary structures.
“I am 43 and I was born here,” one of the residents, Atallah al-Jahalin, told Haaretz. “We have 57 families here, almost 320 people – half of them children.” The residents are involved in legal proceedings to remain at the site, he added, but “suddenly the [IDF’s] Civil Administration came with the police and soldiers, and gave us some map. On the map they marked all the houses in the village, where we live.”
Jahalin said the evacuation order violated previous court rulings. The residents’ lawyer said she didn’t understand how they could do such a thing, he added.
The orders were signed by the head of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, on November 1 and declared a "restricted area in Ras Azaria." The orders state that the area must be completely evacuated within eight days of the orders being issued.
The orders also prohibit any construction in the area, or the entry of any person or property into the area for the purposes of construction.
Haaretz reported earlier this week that similar orders were issued on November 1 for encampments in the northern Jordan Valley where some 300 Bedouin live. Similar orders have been issued in the past in the area, but none seem to have been enforced as of yet.