Day 6: Bedouin struggle to maintain their way of life

By Mary Brodin

Optimized-motherThis is Yisra with her son – one of her 10 children. They are Bedouins who live in the beautiful sheep-herding countryside near Mar Saba Monastery (between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea).

Yisra, and 10 other Bedouin families who live close by, have lived in this area for centuries. They would like to build stone houses to replace their tents but are refused permission as the area has been designated Area C (under full Israeli civil and security control) since the 1995 Oslo Accords.

homeThe tents provide a kitchen and two sleeping areas and only got electricity three years ago with a solar panel. Their water supply is a small tank at the top of the hill.

They have 11 sheep, five goats, one donkey and a chicken and make a meagre living by giving rides on the donkey to the rare visitors to the monastery.

treeMany of their Bedouin neighbours have left to go and live in Bethlehem which is exactly what the authorities want.

For once the area is cleared they will take it over for Israeli settlements and greenhouses.

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