Khan Al Ahmar Jahalin Bedouin Village and their “Mud and Tyre” School

A demolition order hangs over the Khan Al Ahmar Ecological Bedouin School – this little school for 100 children was built from old car tyres (see the bits sticking out in the wall) and mud.

The Jahalin Bedouins were forced to flee from the Negev Desert in 1951 and they are living in this area, seventeen kilometres outside of Jerusalem on the Jericho road, illegally – according to the IDF.  No building, whatsoever, is allowed in Area C so not only is their little school under threat but so are all their tent-like structures, in which Bedouins traditionally live. Their community also has an eviction order and alternative places to live are being explored.  The lawyer of the Bedouins has rejected one suggested site, which was previously a garbage dump.  He was able to submit a valid report that this site was not fit for humans to live on.  The tragedy is that the Israeli Government wants to force Bedouins to relocate to a city/town environment, which is totally foreign to them.  They prefer living out in the open and they do not wish to give up their animals.

Although the most recent court decision rejected an appeal by the settlers to demolish the primary school (they said it threatened their security), the school still has a demolition order hanging over it.  The judge urged the IDF to enter into dialogue with the Bedouin community.  The international community, which was responsible for funding the building of the school, is involved in lobbying the Israeli Government with regard to the complexities of this situation.  These 94 children do not have access to education because there is no other school nearly.  There is no school bus to Jericho for them and, in the past when boys did walk the 20 kms to school, 5 of them were killed on the highway by passing vehicles.

Whether the demolition order hangs overhead indefinitely or whether it is carried out within a few months, these people live in constant fear.  This is not normal.  People should be allowed to build homes when they marry and their family increases.

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