Bedouin kids 248.88 abe.
(photo credit: Abe Selig)
On a hill overlooking Ma'aleh Adumim Wednesday afternoon, traffic whizzed by a cluster of old sheet-metal shacks as sheep milled around, and a group of children, young members of the Jahalin Beduin tribe, kicked an inflatable ball back and forth and laughed while they played.
"Don't take our pictures!" they yelled sternly in Arabic as a reporter approached them with a camera. "We don't want our pictures taken!"
But soon they were smiling again, and oblivious, it seemed, to the larger fate now facing their homes and their families.
According to tribe members, more than a thousand people live in the sprawling, ramshackle encampments of the Jahalin, which can be seen in the rock-laden wadis that lie in between Ma'aleh Adumim and Abu Dis.
Originally inhabitants of the Negev, near Arad, the Jahalin were forced to leave the area in 1950 by IDF order, and after years of traveling and herding their livestock, they resettled after 1967 near Ma'aleh Adumim.
But according to a report released on Wednesday by the human rights groups Bimkom and B'Tselem, the Jahalin are now facing the prospect of another move, and this time, it will be to a plot of land some 150 meters from the nearby Abu Dis garbage dump.
While the report states that hundreds of Beduin, including some Jahalin, had in the past been moved to a neighborhood the state built for them near the dump, the new plan, which the civil administration has approved but has not yet become valid, aims to relocate members of the Jahalin tribe to still another neighborhood that will be built for them only 150 meters from the dump.
"This is the plan, even though, according to the state's own statements, the dump might collapse or explode due to accumulated methane gas in it," a press release from Bimkom and B'Tselem reads.
"Regardless of this grave threat, the civil administration's Higher Planning Council decided to promote the plan's approval, claiming that the risks that the future Jahalin residents are facing are 'negligible' in part, while stating that though significant threats exist in parts of the site, 'there are reasonable solutions to address them.'"
In the Jahalin encampment on Wednesday, Moussa, a 27-year-old member of the tribe, told The Jerusalem Post that he was aware of the new plan, but wasn't sure what could be done about it.
"We don't have any money," he said. "And we don't have any lawyers. This is a court decision, and if they decide to move us, I don't see what else we can do except move.
"We live here day today," Moussa continued. "And no one knows what's going to happen. If they tell us to leave, what can we say? We'll have to leave."