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Pesach Newsletter – Negev Update

The key sentence for our work in the Negev is “to bring the State back to the Negev”. We believe that sovereignty is not a theoretical matter and if it is not enforced – it doesn’t exist.

Consequently, we believe that the key to changing the situation in the Negev and to solving the conflict with the Bedouin population lies in restoring sovereignty and the rule of law to the Negev – not only in terms of planning and construction but also in aspects such as  taxation, licensing, traffic, crime, and other areas.

In the past year we have taken action to introduce changes into the government plan for regulating Bedouin settlement in the Negev (the Prawer Plan”), and thank G-d we have had considerable success. Now we are at the height of a battle over a new bill for proposed legislation that will determine government policy for the coming years.

Along with our activity regarding the government agenda, we have continued to monitor illegal building, to attack it legally and file suits against it in the courts and to lead trips of VIPs to study the situation and become familiar with the issue in depth.

One of the flagship cases that we have conducted this year in the South is the demand that the illegal village of Al-Zarnog be evacuated from the private Jewish land on which it was built.

The story of Attorney-at-Law Mark Ismailof is a richly Jewish, Zionist story of a family that arrived in Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century and invested its money in purchasing lands in the Negev.

It was on this land that years later Palestinians from Gaza settled – in contravention of the law – and for decades, no one thought of removing the illegal settlers and returning the land to its rightful owners – The Ismailof family.

Mark holding title deeds to Al Zarnog

Armed with unequivocal statements made by Dorit Beinish, President (ret.) of the   Supreme Court in her ruling where she ordered the evacuation and destruction of the Migron Jewish community – due to the importance of protecting private ownership, we petitioned the court against the State with a demand to remove the village of Al-Zarnog and return the land to its legal owners. We also filed a dispossession claim against the State with a demand that it remove first and foremost, the school buildings that it had built on private land without the permission of the legal owners. The court ruled in our favor, a significant accomplishment and demanded the government move the buildings.