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Bustan's Newsletter August 2010



Subscriber, on July 27th, the unrecognized village of Al-Araqeeb was demolished by the Israel Land Administration with an incredible force of 1300 policemen. The overwhelming force used in the eviction made front news all around the world, attracting the attention of millions - not only to the deep and profound conflict between the state and the unrecognized Bedouins of the Negev, but also to the unbearable living conditions inflicted upon the residents of close to 45 of these villages, totaling a population of approx. 70,000 men, women and youth. 
On August 10th, the village and its few reconstructed buildings were demolished again, for the third time in less than two weeks. The recent demolition sent shock waves throughout Israel, stimulating anger and frustration. It is, at times, difficult to accept how years of work towards coexistence, development and reconciliation between the Bedouin community and the State can be destroyed so quickly. On the other hand - this only emphasizes the unbelievable importance and urgency of bustans work, creating a model of developmentthat combines economical, social and environmental development alongside cooperation and trust building between the Bedouins, Jews, and the State.

Community Center Update:

You must have heard about Bustan's project, the Community Center in Qasr A-sir. If you haven't, make sure you read all about it at Bustan.org We are happy to report that after a long process with the authorities, we are very close to receiving the last OK from the "Abu Basma" Regional council to begin construction! We are working with the Trade, Industry and labor Ministry and the Employment department to formulate a new Eco Building training program that will allow the Eco builders youth group, which Bustan has been training for the last year, to receive full professional guidance and salaries during the building phase. This will allow them to form a cooperative at the end of the building process and provide services to the private sector.  

Advancing Sustainability at a Time of Crisis:

Alon, of Bustan will be travelling to Oldenburg, Germany at the end of the month to lecture on Bustan's Unique Model for Sustainable Development, at the Biennial Ecological Economics Conference. This is a unique opportunity for Bustan's representative to travels abroad to spread the news about Bustan's exciting new model, bringing together ecological, economical, and social sustainability, alongside development and reconciliation. Be sure to attend the conference if you are in the area! Slides of the slideshow will be made available on Bustan's website soon.

Qasr A-Sir's Green Khan

Qasr A-Sir lies on an ancient caravan road that connected the Arabia peninsula with the Middle East, and has served for generations as a stopover station for traders, soldiers and nomads. The name 'Qasr' means fortress - and the remnants of that ancient fortress are still apparent at the entrance to the village. The residents of the village have been longing to reconstruct or alternatively renovate the old fortress as a way of reconnecting to their past heritage and providing livelihood to the village.
Together with Bustan, the residents of the village have started to resurrect an Ecological Khan (a rest stop) at the center of the village, at what used to be a deserted building surrounded by an olive groove. Needless to say, the Khan is constructed the Bustan way - out of Mud and straw, built only by local workers!

The khan will serve as a multi functional meeting place:

1)  An Eco Tourism facility that will receive groups and individuals and serve as a place of group gathering, conferences and festivals. This place will serve as a gathering place for Jewish and Arab circles and facilitate a spirit of co-existence.  An authentic Bedouin tent will be erected next to the trees to provide a place to sleep for the groups or individuals. A cooking facility will allow the preparation of authentic Bedouin cuisine to the guests.
2) The office and workshop of the Eco builders' cooperative, the group of young men whom Bustan helped train for the last year to construct the ecological community center. The Eco builders will start producing mud bricks that will serve as the interior walls of the community center prior to the construction of the building itself.
3) A school of languages and eco-building. The place will serve as an Arabic school for groups coming from outside and an English school for local residents. The Eco builders group will lead workshops for both local and outside people in mud building techniques, adobe bricks making, cob, earthbags, plastering and cob oven making.

Unplugged Tours:

For the past several years, Bustan has been trying to bring more groups from the Israeli mainstream to see the reality of the Negev. A group of business school students from the Ben Gurion University wrote a report formulating a strategic work plan to meet this target. In the next six months we are to launchingseveral special tours: an informative tour for the Israeli Media; an Israeli Photography Students tour; an Open Public Tour (which you are all invited to attend, details will be sent soon.); and a Sustainability tour in the Negev. Bustan is also planning a series of "Man and Desert" lectures, with a special tour at its end. On 8th of August, Bustan carried out the "After Dark" night tour to a group of American and Israeli students. The tour was part of a summer course, held by the Technion, Haifa titled "Engineering for the developing world".

With the coming of Ramadan, Bustan wishes all of our friends and partnersRamadan Kareem!Make sure to stay updated, at www.bustan.org


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ראשון 22 אוגוסט 2010
שבת 21 אוגוסט 2010
שישי 20 אוגוסט 2010
חמישי 19 אוגוסט 2010
רביעי 18 אוגוסט 2010
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שישי 13 אוגוסט 2010

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