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Shepherds Since Time Immemorial – Stopping the Displacement of the Jahalin Tribe Shepherds

Joint Us to Protect the Jahalin Herders in Nahal Og Facing Immediate Livelihood Threat!

In April 2022, the head of the Civil Administration signed a decree declaring Nahal Og a nature reserve, encompassing an unprecedented area of approximately 22,000 dunams in the northern Judean Desert. While this declaration holds significant environmental benefits, it also carries profound implications that extreme right-wing organizations have long sought to exploit. Roughly a quarter of the designated territory is privately owned by Palestinians, subjecting it to restrictions that hinder their traditional land use. Moreover, the reserve's establishment threatens to deprive over 250 Bedouin herders residing in the area of their livelihood even before Israel asserts control over the region.

For centuries, the Bedouins of the northern Judean desert have responsibly herded sheep, exhibiting deep respect for the environment, which, in turn, has sustained their way of life. However, Israel's gradual closure of grazing areas through nature reserve designations and fire zone declarations, coupled with the encroachment of illegal agricultural farms by extreme right-wing settlers, poses a dire threat to their existence. The mantra of "minimum people, maximum area" promoted by these groups is effectively facilitated by the establishment of nature reserves.

As advocates of the Jahalin tribe, we have steadfastly supported the Bedouins in their plea to preserve their desert heritage. Excluding them from their ancestral lands not only violates moral principles but also inflicts tangible harm upon the ecosystem. The controlled grazing practices employed by the Bedouin serve to maintain environmental balance, facilitate regeneration, and curb pest infestations. Therefore, grazing permits have historically been granted in Israeli territories' nature reserves. The centuries-long partnership between grazing and the environment has been instrumental in justifying the reserve's establishment. Nature is not static; it thrives with human presence, and as such, reserves should safeguard not just flora and fauna but also cultural heritage.

In many reserves, existing populations who have historically benefited from the area are safeguarded from harm post-declaration. We urgently require your assistance to fund a professional survey of the reserve area prior to the announcement. This survey will substantiate the Bedouins' existing land use rights, ensuring their preservation amidst reserve establishment. Additionally, we aim to produce a concise, informative video outlining the history of Bedouins in the northern Judean Desert and their integral role in the ecosystem.

Your contribution will amplify the voices of those silenced by circumstance. We aim to raise NIS 35,000 to undertake these crucial endeavors.

Update on Fundraising Progress: Thanks to your generous donations, we have commenced the comprehensive Raya survey of Nahal Og reserve concerning the Bedouin shepherds. This survey is pivotal in securing justice for the herders and thwarting potential expulsion from the reserve, enabling them to sustain their livelihoods while preserving their cultural heritage. Field visits and mapping, conducted in collaboration with the shepherds, will further illuminate the nuances of their land use patterns throughout the seasons.

The survey encompasses various aspects, including spatial usage, seasonal movements, community perceptions, and the role of natural resources in preserving the ecosystem. Detailed mapping of usage patterns, migration routes, and herd sizes will provide a comprehensive overview of the Bedouins' presence in the area. Additionally, we will delve into the historical context of Bedouin tribes in the region.

A preliminary inventory of pastoral communities and their flock sizes includes:
- Korshan: 150
- Jwalia: 1,100
- Abu Dahok: 350
- Maazi: 600
- Thebna: 600
- Ab al Hilo: 400
- Satah al Behar: 1,200
- Nakhaila: 300

We anticipate completing the survey by December 2022.

Thank you for your unwavering support, enabling us to advocate for equal rights for the Bedouins and protect their way of life.

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