• General Background

      The village of al-Ġarrah is an unrecognized Bedouin village, located 17 km east of Be’er-Sheva, south of Route 31, population 2000. Al-Ġarrah is a historic village settled before the establishment of the state of Israel. The meaning of the word “Ajar” in Arabic is someone or something whose forehead is dyed white, and the village is so named because it sits on a white hill-top. There are some ancient stone houses (Baika), wells and caves that were used to store crops in the village.

      Services and Infrastructure

      There is one functioning medical clinic in the village but those residents who are not clients of “Meuchedet” HMO, must drive to the town of Ḥūrah in order to get medical care. There are no schools and the pupils must travel to the nearby village of Tla’a Rashid (al-Atrash). High school students travel all the way to Ḥūrah or Gaṣir as-Sirr. There is only one kindergarten in the village that cannot serve all the children of al-Ġarrah, therefore, some of them travel daily to Tla’a Rashid.

      The village has a couple of connection points to the main water pipe, along Route 31, 7 km from the village. The residents have to install the infrastructure at their own expense in order to bring the water to the village. Some of the residents transport water for home use in tanks that lower the quality of the water, and is also a very expensive means of transporting water. The village is not connected to the electricity grid, and its residents use solar panels or generators, while some of them have no electricity at all. There are no paved roads in the village and the access to al-Ġarrah is extremely difficult.

      Threats

      al-Ġarrah is an unrecognized village. According to the Be’er-Sheva Metropolitan Plan, it is located in a “metropolitan leisure / forest and forestation” zone. The researcher Talma Duchan,who investigated objections to the Plan recommended recognition of the village. House demolitions occur there every once in a while, and many houses were already demolished. Some of the houses of al-Ġarrah are currently (2014) subject to demolition orders. The residents of the village live on lands to which they claim ownership as well as to lands outside the village. The residents want the state to recognize their village in its current location on their own lands.