Palestinians in Ramallah protest the Assia architectural firm’s collaboration with the Israeli Civil Administration in a project to forcibly relocate Bedouin in the West Bank.
Israel’s Civil Administration, the military government that rules over Palestinians in the West Bank, is pushing forward with a plan to remove thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from lands in the occupied West Bank, including an especially contentious area east of Jerusalem known as ‘E1.’ The plan calls for the forcible relocation of as many as 12,500 Bedouin to a new town in the Jordan Valley.
Activists recently discovered that the latest plan was commissioned to a Palestinian architectural firm called Assia, which is based in Ramallah. To protest the company’s collaboration with the Israeli Civil Administration, Palestinian activists held a protest outside the firm’s office Sunday.
Haaretz reported that members of the Rashaida tribe currently live on the land that is earmarked for the new town in the Jordan Valley, and four years ago they consented in principle to its establishment, reassured by the fact that the planners were Palestinian.
The new town, to be called Talet Nueima, will be built in Area C near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, and is slated to house about 12,500 people from Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem area.
For many in the Bedouin community this is an extension of Israel’s policy of removing Bedouin from their lands in the Negev desert to controversial development towns. The Palestinian Authority also rejects the plan because it intends to build its own town in the same area of the Jordan Valley.
As with much activity of its in the West Bank, Israel is operating outside of even its own legal norms. The plans to forcibly move the Bedouin were reportedly designed without proper consultation with Bedouin community leaders, which the Israeli High Court recommended it do.
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