Home » Bedouin Myths » BEDOUIN MYTH #3 – Are there only 45 unrecognised villages?

BEDOUIN MYTH #3 – Are there only 45 unrecognised villages?

Another myth speaks of the existence of only 45 villages where tens of thousands of people live. Their present tactic is to claim that the Negev is a huge territory and “all we are talking about is the recognition of only 45 villages,” as stated in a position paper circulated by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) , Bimkom, and the Council of the Unrecognized Villages, which claims that the institutional recognition and legal organization of  these “45 villages” would solve the prolonged dispute between the Bedouin and the State of Israel:

“The Goldberg commission has recognized that the main solution to the arrangement of Bedouin settlement is recognition of unrecognized villages, in order to prevent the deterioration of an already intolerable situation and to bring about an historic solution to the dispute. This is the central principle that stands at the heart of any solution, and we must follow it in order to bring about an agreement. As will be detailed below, this principle can be assimilated in relation to every unrecognized village in the Negev.” 1


The Bedouin connect this claim to 45 points on the map of the Negev (See the 45 blue dotes on the map published by the Council of Unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev). What they neglect, to tell us is that these points are attached to thousands of clusters of structures spread all across the Northern Negev, in the area between Beersheva, Arad and Dimona, creating one large contiguous territory of illegal Bedouin villages. 

45 Bedouin Villages

A bird’s eye view over the village of “Al-Ara”, one of the blue dots on the previous map (south of the town of Kseifa), with the help of “zoom in” and “zoom out” functions (which can be easily replicated in Google Earth), reveals that spread across the Northern Negev are actually thousands of clusters of Bedouin residences in various stages of development.

The red markings on the following photographs are polygons indicating illegal construction clusters containing three or more structures placed together. As you zoom out, thousands of these small areas merge together to create the most accurate picture of Bedouin settlement in the Northern Negev. In comparison using the points on the previous map is not an effective method to get an accurate picture of the number of Bedouin villages.

Zooming in on Al-Ara

Adding polygons to really see Bedouin settlement

Zooming out

Zooming out further

The below map shows the overlay the 45 blue dots from the previous map on an aerial photo including the actual Bedouin settlement areas described above. 

The truth abut Bedouin settlement in the Northern Negev

Conclusion: Aerial photography proves conclusively that the claim of  “only 45 villages” has no basis in reality. The ‘Regavim’ investigation as signified by the red layer of markings on the aerial photography points to the existence of over 2000 villages/clusters/hamlets.