Ahlam Shibli احلام شبلي

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© Ahlam Shibli
Ahlam Shibli — Unrecognised

'Arab al-N'aim

Ahlam Shibli, 2000

A crooked sandy road branches off the modern paved road that continues to the Jewish settlement Eshhar. It leads to 'Arab al-N'aim, a Palestinian Bedouin village whose 900 inhabitants are forced to rely on themselves and their own resources because their village is not recognized by the State of Israel.The villagers are deprived of basic civil rights, namely the right to live in the place that has belonged to them for generations.

The State of Israel wanted to move them to the Palestinian town of Sakhnin without offering other alternatives. The unrevealed reason was that the Regional Council had particular plans for the neighbouring Jewish settlement, Eshhar, which had been established fourteen years before: they wanted to appropriate the lands of 'Arab al-N'aim and thereby block the town of Karmiel from expanding to the South. In a more general sense this was to serve the Israeli agenda to contain the Palestinian Arab population. The people of 'Arab al-N'aim however refused to leave their lands.

The men of 'Arab al-N'aim work mainly in agriculture or the breeding of animals, or seek work as builders or gardeners. Most of the children study in Sakhnin and walk morning and noon, winter and summer, almost two kilometres from the village to the bus station where they wait to be picked up by the school bus—only after the Supreme Court intervened on their behalf. Thirty children below school age go to the kindergarten that was established by a local association.

The water pipe supplying the village measures two inches in diameter and has a capacity of ten cubic meters per day. It delivers water to only one point in the village. It was installed as a result of international public pressure.

Since the beginning of the 1900s, the village of 'Arab al-N'aim has been located on Jabal Abu-Qarad [Tick Mountain] in Galilee. When, in 1957, teams from the Israeli Land Administration came to map and record the lands in the area, they registered only part of the agricultural lands as village lands and failed to include the houses in the new map.

In the winter of 1964, during the period of the Israeli military rule that applied to the Palestinian population and their areas in Israel, the area of 'Arab al-N'aim was declared Area 9, a military training zone. Police and army forces gathered on the hill across the village, officers came to the village, called out the names of the people and assembled all of them under a distant tree up the hill. Suddenly, there were explosions, children hid under their mothers’ dresses and when they came out they saw the villagers running, screaming and crying between the ruins of their homes. Wells and water holes for the winter were also bombed and all the men were arrested for two days. They paid fines and signed a commitment not to build new houses.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel the villagers have been refugees on their own land.

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