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Professor Dawn Chatty is the guest lecturer for a joint event hosted by UNRWA and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) at the St George Landmark Hotel, Jerusalem, taking place today at 5.30pm

Professor Dawn Chatty, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre © RSC
Professor Dawn Chatty, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre

The lecture, titled 'Bedouin Palestine refugees in the West Bank: an anthropological perspective', will examine the challenges faced by the Bedouin residents of Area C.

The majority of the Bedouin in the West Bank today are Palestine refugees, originating from tribal territories in what is now the Negev Desert. The traditionally mobile pastoralist population today faces a range of challenges rendering them at high risk of displacement, some into urban environments being planned for them by the Israeli authorities.

The livestock-dependent Bedouin facing transfer into centralised semi-urban settings today are perhaps the last sector of the Palestine refugee population to experience overnight transformation from a traditional rural society to one based on an urban wage-labour setting.

The lecture coincides with the launch of a United Nations-backed joint UNRWA-Bimkom report released yesterday, which analyses the transfer against their will of 150 Palestine refugee Bedouin families to Al Jabal village, starting in 1997, to expand the Israeli Ma’ale Adummim settlement outside of Jerusalem. In a UN Radio interview, Professor Chatty, who participated in the launch, called the study 'extraordinarily important' and 'timely' given the health risks, as well as the social and economic degradation facing the Bedouin families.

'I hope that after today’s launch […], the report will be read very carefully,' Professor Chatty said, underscoring her belief that the transfer of the Bedouin families was 'unacceptable.' 'Any other attempt to create another settlement similar to that, even if not on a garbage dump, would be a very serious mistake.'

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