“My family bought this land in 1948 after being expelled from our old home. It was just us, the birds, and the trees here at that time. But in 1967 the Israelis started to attack us, and ten years later they built a military outpost. Five years after that the settlers started buiding their homes on our land. Today they even tried to tear down our camp,” says Salim, a 60 year-old man from Umm al Kher-al Faqir.
A military road around the Karmel settlement, built on stolen land, is under construction, and was planned to go through the village demolishing some houses. The demolition order of the Bedouin camp outside Hebron was due at four o’clock on Sunday, 26 April 2009, but did not take place.
When the bulldozer started work on the land early in the morning, people from the camp attempted to prevent the demolition by sitting down in front of the bulldozer. After about three hours of applying pressure, the families of the village managed to re-route the construction of the road, so now it appears that less tents will be affected by the construction of the settler road.
Umm al Kher-al Faqir is a Bedouin camp in the South Hebron hills with 12 families and about 150 inhabitants. The people of the camp became refugees in 1948, after the beginning of the Israeli occupation. In 1981, Carmel settlement was established in the area. At that time, 40 dunams of land owned by the Palestinian residents were confiscated and given to the settlement, and residents of the camp consequently lost their farming plots. In early 2008, the Carmel settlement was expanded to include a new neighborhood occupying 50 more dunams of land from Umm al-Kheir. Since the establishment of the new neighborhood, settlers have regularly attacked the residents of Umm al-Kheir, with the intention of driving them out of their land.