This morning, Bedouin lawbreakers herding flocks of thousands of sheep invaded the IDF Tzeelim Base, leading to a confrontation with the Israel Police and the Green Patrol who were called out to remove the intruders from the IDF’s live-ammunition training area. The intruders called in backup of their own – Bedouin residents of the Bir Hadaj squatters’ camp – who stoned the police officers, faced off with the enforcement patrol, and attempted to run over one of the inspectors.
As this scene was unfolding, a different face-off was taking place in the Knesset, where ministers were embroiled in a tug-of-war over the government’s new five-year plan for the Negev. Over the past several weeks, the previous five-year plan (2397) – a ₪3 billion package that included 200 million shekels for forestation, land protection and law enforcement – ran its course. The new plan, which the government is scheduled to debate and approve this week, does not include one single shekel for these crucial projects; the chapter on enforcement was simply cut out of the draft legislation.
The plan in its present form includes funding for Bedouin municipalities but is completely devoid of any allocation of resources for enforcement authorities. It will cause long-term damage to the state of governance in the Negev.
Increased enforcement activity in the Negev over the past year is the result of government decisions and budgetary allocations legislated in 2017. As it now reads, the new Negev Five-Year Plan will cut the oxygen supply for enforcement, and the results will be felt over the coming years. Under no condition should this plan be approved; all ‘carrots’ and no ‘sticks’ is not a plan, it’s a recipe for disaster.
The Sde Boker Initiative: a vision for the Negev 2050
To mark the 49th anniversary of the passing of David Ben-Gurion, we launched our “Sde Boker Initiative.” This comprehensive roadmap for the future of the Negev is the result of 16 years of fieldwork, analysis, legal research and activism that have enabled us to formulate a vision for the future, looking ahead to 2050 through the […]
Funded by an anti-Israel sheikh: Tower and Stockade in 2022
It all started a few months ago. Our field coordinator in the South discovered at least six new, identical, and illegal mosques constructed in the Negev, one after the other. Not long afterward, we got our hands on a video clip that documented a group of Palestinian infiltrators hiding in one of these mosques until […]