But aren’t the Bedouin being relocated “far away,” as so many seem to think? No, they will be moving less than four miles away, to become a part of the Arab village of Abu Dis. The Bedouins being moved will have permanent, solid homes built by the Israelis, given to them for free. They will for the first time in their lives have full access to running water and electricity. A real schoolhouse has been built for their children, to replace the mud-and-tire “school” they had at Khan al-Ahmar. They are being moved, as Naomi Linder Khan has written, “into an all-expenses-paid, fully developed plot of land and paid tens of thousands of dollars by the state to move in. In fact, several years ago, another branch of the Jahalin clan agreed to precisely this treatment and voluntarily relocated; the families that remained in Khan al Ahmar agreed to move as well, but were bullied or patronized by their ‘representatives’ into retracting their consent and have been dragged through Israel’s courts ever since.”
But what will happen to the shepherds and their sheep? Won’t this spell the end of a hallowed way of life?
In fact, 80% of the residents of Khan al Ahmar abandoned shepherding long ao, and now are employed in Ma’ale Adumim, Kfar Adumim and other Israeli communities in the area — and have been for many years. As Naomi Linder Kahn has noted, “shepherding is a hobby for most, a means of supplementing income and maintaining their connection to Bedouin folklore. The Bedouin of Khan al Ahmar, like Bedouin tribes throughout the Middle East, abandoned their nomadic existence generations ago; the structures (as opposed to tents) at Khan al Ahmar are a very good indication of this trend.”