The Bedouin of Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem

Lord Hylton

These indigenous people were originally nomadic, but in recent years have built their own villages, and even schools.  In the Negev, in southern Israel, the Authorities have major plans for re-locating the Bedouin.  Unfortunately these plans have been drawn up without consulting the Bedouin, and therefore cause problems, for example from repeated demolitions of dwellings.

One Bedouin tribe moved many years ago from the Negev to the East side of Jerusalem.  Others, who had always lived in the West Bank have suffered much from the Israeli occupation, its settlements and exclusive roads, check points etc.  Relations between them and the occupying power remain difficult.

Please see three written Questions and Answers about the Bedouin here (please scroll down to HL 1095/6/7) , and a further three here

8 comments for “The Bedouin of Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem

  1. 10/07/2012 at 3:50 pm

    Lord Hylton,

    The often biased and hate assuaging anti-Israeli Al Jazeera between its sidebars attacking Israel has an article urging the Muslim Brotherhood to treat the Bedouin well as the Saladin may have — perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood will do so. But the article also points out how badly the Bedouin have been and are being treated in Egypt.

    Others have noted that with the exception of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates where they have formed the new national societal civilization as the dominant force they are in decline and in trouble.

    The British rmember the days of Lawrence of Arabia and well they should. However, Israel is not a unique bad actor persecuting Bedouin. This is the usual “anti-semitic” nonsense one comes to expect. This is a crisis for more complex than that in which the Israeli policy is better than many of the alternatives and is better in the context of greater risk. Because beyond their tribalism and dialect they are committed to Arab and Sunni Muslim dominance everywhere and not likely to be friends to Israel. The madness of all this being treated as serious discussion is imply staggering really…

  2. maude elwes
    10/07/2012 at 4:10 pm

    Here is some information on the Bedouin in Israel.

    Why do government officials lie so much? If they believe in what they are doing, and are convinced it’s lawful, why the need to hide behind a pack of untruths?

    I wonder why the rich Arab States are not giving these people assistance? They surely must have far more understanding of their plight than Europeans would have. And one would have thought, more able to assist them as they are close by.

  3. Twm O'r Nant
    10/07/2012 at 6:48 pm
  4. MilesJSD
    11/07/2012 at 12:43 am

    Once again neither The Arabs, the Israelis, nor the United Nations and International-Community
    are capable of fair and sustainworthy Governance for (and by ?) all of the people.
    In 1949 whilst in the Royal Lincolshire Regiment keeping the peace between the ‘new’ Israeli-Negev and the Arab Legion at Aqaba, four of us went exploring the nearby Mountains of Moab (where Moses was said to have received the Ten Commandements);

    as we trudged back down, in a gully of the foothills, adjacent to the flat sands of the Wadi Aqaba itself, sat some five Bedouins around a little camp-fire on which they were brewing tea.

    None of us spoke the other’s language;
    nevertheless, they calmly, peaceably, and very respectfully, invited us to sit and join them.
    We all drank, from a little cups no bigger than our traditional English silver service
    after dinner coffee cups;

    and nice it was, and noddingly polite the whole half hour or so;

    but especially so for us, because we were commanded to carry Epicrin tablets, to ‘purify’ any water we drank;

    so it was a very welcome biological lifesupportive for us
    because naturally we could trust that the water they were drinking would be safe for us too (because it had been boiled, at least).

    I’ll warrant that none of the others in such a ‘foreign’ party wandering in such places and being spontaneously and unexpectedly hosted by such as those Bedouins
    would ever forget that extrinsic-charity, by a relatively education-less people.
    Yet their needs and best-affordable-hows
    are not being countenanced, let alone legislated to be met ?

    And how much are the Governance people worldwide being paid, to continue this and many other sorts of near-persecution ?
    PS The ‘Going In Circles’ blog above relevantly includes a guideline quotation from China’s developing governance.

    • Lord Hylton
      Lord Hylton
      18/07/2012 at 11:34 am

      Thanks for your comment and recollections of 1949 and traditional desert Arab hospitality.

      Last week I had a chance to listen to and question the Israeli Minister responsible for the development of the Negev, Mr Benny Begin. He described the splended, rational, 21st centruy plan drawn up, without consultation with the affected Bedouin. Now that it exists, however, they are being asked for their views.

      There is apparently a large Israeli toxic waste dump, and proposed airport runways. It will be good if Bedouin families close to these can be rehoused, but meanwhile “unrecognised villages” , ie shacks and huts, are probably still being demolished.

  5. angelajerusalem
    20/07/2012 at 9:42 am

    May I recommend a film I produced recently, NOWHERE LEFT TO GO, about the Bedouin Jahalin in the Jerusalem periphery facing forced displacement to a nearby garbage dump. You may see it (and relevant resource materials) at our website:

    The Israeli plans to annex Area C seem to be progressing. Jonathan Cook’s recent article about Israel’s intentions is excellent analysis. The implications for where that is taking we Israelis as to future wars, bloodshed, terror and insecurity (impacting of course on the rest of the world, too) makes one shiver.

    In the context of Israeli intentions both as to Greater Jerusalem and Greater Israel, therefore, this forced displacement of Bedouin herders has huge implications politically as to Israeli ability to annex Area C and grab all of Greater Jerusalem. East Jerusalem (who remembers it in 1967 as a small area of 6 sq.kms?) is already being swiftly “judaised” (an official term we Israelis use – I speak as an Anglo-Israeli). So, it would appear, is the entire Jerusalem region. And the West Bank. Never forget Netanyahu in the 70s boasted arrogantly to Max Hastings that “we will get them all out of the West Bank in the next war” — a colonialist worldview echoed in Sharon’s settlement development policy: “we will make a pastrami sandwich of it, so that in 20 years neither the United States nor the United Nations will be able to pull it apart.”

    Sadly, the international community is only now waking up, too little, too late, after 45 years of Israeli belligerent Occupation and rampant colonialism that has an exclusivist appetite for it all. No peace. No sharing. And with Congress publicly bought. History will judge us all quite harshly, no? Especially perfidious Albion!

  6. 20/07/2012 at 11:10 am

    dear Lord Hylton,
    thank you for raising the issue of the Bedouin: they are an indigenous peoples who often get overlooked in the frantic melee of Middle East politics. Please keep the pressure on the Minister: successive policies of Israeli Govt’s have cruelly neglected to consider the wishes of the Bedouin as they get shunted around and tribal lands are lost and swallowed up by the development of the Negev.

    I spent 5 years in Jerusalem, and produced a 20 min documentary exploring land rights issues and women’s development amongst the Bedouin, amongst great activists such as Angela (above) and Yeela Ra’anan, who would be worth talking to on any trip there, as well as Bedouin activists Amal El-Sana and Nuri El-Ukbi.
    I will happily send you a copy of the film ‘Steadfast’ if you email me your address.

    • Hylton
      25/07/2012 at 9:50 am

      Thank you for your comment. I should be grateful if you would send me a copy of the film. Would you be able to send it in DVD format to me at the House of Lords? Thank you.

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