Abu Nawwar: A Life of Survival

A Life of Survival & Children Deprived of Their Rights
Guest author, Muhammed Mahareq

The Abu Nuwar area (Bedouin encampment) is located in East Jerusalem and is surrounded by Israeli settlements. About 1,200 people live in this area, which is constantly attacked and harassed by the occupation forces and under constant threat of deportation from this area. From 2015 until now, the area has faced continuous demolitions of their homes: tin houses owned and lived in by residents.

There is one school in the area that accommodates 230 students (Male & Female), which was demolished on numerous occasions in 2015, 2016, 2018 and rebuilt by the residents constructing tin classrooms to teach the area’s children. Unfortunately, the residents were prevented from increasing the number of tin classrooms through ‘orders’ by the occupation authorities.

The area is approximately 5 miles walking dangerous terrain to the nearest town south of Jerusalem, which is the Al-Eizariya village, where residents experience their own difficulties with the loss of security and safety, in addition to deprivation and marginalization of their most basic rights.

These Bedouin refugees were displaced from their homes and towns in southern Palestine during the Nakah in 1948 and have lived in this area since, far from basic services and towns, in very difficult living conditions.

The people in this area mainly depend on raising sheep, but most of them suffer from extreme poverty due to the lack of work opportunities and are prevented from freedom of movement. The area lacks potable fresh water, as there are no water wells. The occupation authorities prevent the residents from digging wells, and the residents rely on fetching water, walking far distances just for drinking water. This area also lacks health facilities and treatment centers, with the nearest medical center in the  Al-Eizariya village which they reach by foot. Further, and in addition to the lack of water, they must rely on diesel fuel for lighting their houses.

The population is one of the neediest and most marginalized people in the region, denied their most basic rights to live in freedom and dignity. Children are deprived of education, healthcare, and their basic rights, suffering from malnourishment and the normal life every child should enjoy.


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