The first reports regarding this problem were submitted to the authorities back in the days when Eli Yishai was Minister of the Interior (he, too, received written notification of the problem), all the way back in 2011(!) when our field staff discovered a large Bedouin encampment, complete with building materials and agricultural equipment, adjacent to Givat Brenner. This was not just another illegal Bedouin settlement somewhere in the distant sands of the Negev, but an illegal settlement built right under our noses in the center of Israel.
After years of petitioning the local Planning Council and other official bodies, after countless demands that the law be enforced and the area cleared of squatters, only this past January the local Planning Council responded. The area, they informed us, would be cleared by the end of April 2017.
After the deadline had passed, our field staff made several sweeps of the area, only to find that the encampment hadn’t budged even one inch. Three more rounds of legal correspondence to the Planning Council ensued. Finally, last week, we discovered that the encampment had been evacuated. The squatters were gone, but the land hadn’t been cleared.
In most cases, local planning committees don’t deal with the issue of illegal land-grabs and squatters. That’s why we are particularly pleased that in this case the Planning Council woke up and took the necessary steps to clear the squatters from the area.
We will continue to monitor the area and insure that it is cleared of all the building and agricultural materials the squatters left behind, and we will continue to protect Israel’s most important natural resource – the Land of Israel itself, in the North, in the South, and in the center of the country.
Years of perseverance eventually pay off.
Regavim: Restoring Israel’s Sovereignty