PSP Activists Visit Om Al Kheir

27 March 2012

On Tuesday, March 27, 2012, PSP activists went to Om Al Kheir in the southern West Bank to meet with the Bedouin living there. They are surrounded by the Karmel settlement, and face daily attacks and injustices from the settlers and the court systems. At night, settlers throw molotov cocktails and stones at the Bedouin’s homes, or shoot into their village, trying to scare them off the land. One man explained that their small tents are their homes, and they have nowhere else to go. Settlers also throw chemicals onto the Palestinian land, which their sheep and goats eat, causing them to die and destroying another source of livelihood. Settlers even flooded their mud-brick over with water, complaining that the smoke was entering their settlement.

The settlement is practically on top of them. The settlements have a monopoly on the water, cutting off irrigation for Palestinian crops. The Bedouin in Om Al Kheir have to buy their water and bring it in from the outside. There’s a fence separating Karmel from Om Al Kheir, and on the settlement side, the land is lush and green, but the Palestinian side is brown and rocky. All electricity in the camp is solar-powered.

The settlements are literally just feet away from the Bedouin tents. According to the Bedouin there, the settlers say in court that they’ve stopped building, but the settlement construction continues. The Bedouin have pictures documenting this, but the courts pay no attention to their claims.

The Bedouin’s homes are frequently bulldozed, and every home has a demolition order except for two that have been there since before the settlement was established in the early 1980s. This area has been the home for the Bedouin for much longer than that, and the settlements are illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention. Nevertheless, the courts continue to rule in favor of the settlements.