The Palestinian residents of Khan al-Ahmar are facing the threat of expulsion from their homes in the West Bank. No matter how hard they tried to ingratiate themselves with their settler neighbors, nothing seemed to help.
Sukkot is a lovely holiday. For seven days we play pretend: building ornate sukkot tabernacles in the safety of our yards or on our balconies, and imagine transience. While we say blessings, the residents of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar will be biding their time.
Is there another way to awaken the Jewish-Israeli conscience, which instructs us to remember that the sukka was an integral part of our forefathers’ journey from slavery to freedom? That this is not so different from the dilapidated shacks that house the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, from which the state is trying to expel them? Will the fate of hundreds of people, children and elderly who live in deep poverty just a short drive away from the settlement of Kfar Adumim, be of any interest to us a moment before we go back to our daily routine after the holiday comes to an end?
The story of Khan al-Ahmar is depressing in its banality. The Jahalin Bedouin community who were forced to leave their land in the Negev Desert following the 1948 war and wandered to the Mishor Adumim area of the West Bank. Decades later, that area was designated “Area C,” under full Israeli military control; the Jahalin, then, turned into an obstacle to settlement expansion. As long as Bedouin communities in the area have been under Israel’s control, the state has refrained from providing them with minimal living conditions, including connecting them to water and electricity. In fact, Israel has done everything in its power to prevent the residents from taking their fate into their own hands.
The state does not seem to be satisfied with home demolitions, fines, and confiscating equipment — now it wants to evict the entire village. To where? To an area bordering on a giant landfill near Abu Dis, an area that the state itself has called a “ticking time bomb” due to the large methane deposits that have accumulated over the years. The master plan proposed by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, along with Israeli planning rights NGO Bimkom, was rejected by the Civil Administration.
A symbolic struggle
One must see Khan al-Ahmar in order to understand the dire poverty in...Read More