The school is there, as a shelter for 170 children. We met them shortly after noon, while walking through the slopes of the neighbors hills to go home. The journey is full of obstacles and closely monitored by the paramilitary troops of nearby Israeli settlements. The parents of children are particularly worried, because until today every ridge is occupied by an outpost of young settlers. The message is clear: “The Bedouins have to go away.” Here the Zionist right movement is crowning the dream of making it impossible to create a Palestinian state. Here, what is left of the West Bank is quickly dissected by a long series of settlements that is completing the separation of the Palestinian Bethlehem governatorate from the Ramallah one.
Settlers are well organized, armed and supported by parties in power. But they live as prisoners in their bunker settlements, pointing everytime they can their disdain for the Bedouin neighbors, and thereby denying their humanity.
School building is expensive for local communities: loss of work, increased conflict and harassment, closure of road access. However, when asked the fundamental question: “Was it worth it?” Alhan Al Ahmar’s spokesman replied, “Yes, every morning I get up, I see the school and I feel light-hearted”
Few days ago, an Italian delegation, led by Roberto Speranza and Arturo Scotto, visited the communities. In the following days, Al Ahmar held an important meeting in the presence of diplomats from the European Union and the UN Agencies. Meetings with which Vento di Terra participated, as the only NGO present, representing their support network. The life of communities has been marked by decades of judgments and referrals by the Israeli Supreme Court. The school is under order of demolition since its construction in 2009 and a move plan has been defined for the communities living around there. Last year in September, the Court substantially endorsed the positions of the Israeli government, but requested the government to submit a plan. The session on Monday, September 25, had to be decisive, but the Government did not present the plan in time and the session was postponed until a later date.
This is a wearing mechanism, even for the stoic Bedouins. Every day, pupils attend the school without knowing whether the week or the next month the school will still be standing. Government plans are unilateral and do not take into account community lifestyle and habits. The times have changed and the support and great solidarity shown by the international community have weakened in the last years. That is why delegations, support and presence appear at this stage particularly important. The important thing is to not let the communities feel alone in this defense of the rights of children that affects everyone.
Massimo Annibale Rossi
Vento di Terra ONG