The E1 settlement project

Save the schools – Protect the People – End the E1 Project

For the past twenty years, Israel has endeavoured to build racially-discriminatory (Jews only) settlements in the so-called E1 area to the east of Abu Dis. These would join Jerusalem to the illegal settlements built from the 1970s on, and create further difficulties

for the Palestinian population by effectively cutting the West Bank in half.

In 2005 and 2009, international pressure successfully restrained Israel from going ahead with the development – at least publicly. In the past few years, people in and around Abu Dis and the Jahaleen Bedouin who live on the E1 area between the existing Israeli settlements of Maale Adumim an

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d Qidar have watched the area being prepared for development. A new police station has been opened on a hilltop – so far on its own – while, around it, the roads and infrastructure have been put into place for the E1 project


The area is currently inhabited by some 2,500 Bedouins who would have to be transferred in order to make way for new Jewish housing. These people settled in the area decades ago after being forcibly displaced by Israel from their previous villages and grazing grounds. They suffer a good deal from the settlements already built close to them. While not allowed by Israel to use the water from wells drilled for them by the European Union, their vill

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age is at times soaked by sewage from the neighbouring Israeli settlement; they report that settlers have rolled burning tyres down the hill into parties and weddings. Their children tell a shocking tale of injuries from live ordinance left there by the Israeli military, who have declared it a ‘closed military area’ and carry out training activities in the area where the Bedouin children play.

Nonetheless, the area is home to these communities, and transfer of the local population by an occupying power is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Two Bedouin schools in the area have recently received closure notices and the Israeli authorities are planning to destroy them. This shows an appalling disregard for the children who attend them and for their right to education.

Beyond the demolition of the schools will be the pressure on the communities to move to make way for E1. Israeli authorities are proposing to move Bedouin families to an insalubrious area near the settlement landfill site which itself has been put by Israel in Abu Dis in defiance of international law.

The people of Abu Dis will also suffer as further groups of people are transferred into an area already squashed between a major checkpoint , the landfill site, the Israeli Separation Wall which the International Court of Justice showed violates the Palestinians’ human rights on a number of counts and a road that Palestinians are not allowed to use and services Israeli settlements that build on occupied land and contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In 2018, there have been strong moves by the Israelis to evict the Bedouin from their villages in al-Khan al-Ahmar, Jabal al-Baba, and others – At the time of writing, these have been held off by fierce protest locally and internationally but the Israelis are going ahead with the expansion of the local settlements in any case.

Urgent action is needed now to prevent the E1 plan, save the schools and protect the human rights of the Bedouin and their neighbours in Abu Dis and adjacent Palestinian towns.


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