Farmers from Moshav Nevatim return to work their lands

Earlier this year, a Bedouin man invaded into agricultural lands that belong to the Moshav Nevatim, appropriated a piece of land for himself, and put up an illegal hut. The hut was small, but its impact was huge: the intruder decided to stay there and prevent the Moshav’s workers from entering their fields to work the land. He also threatened whoever made such attempts.

Moshav Nevatim in the central Negev, near Be’er Sheva, is surrounded by clusters of illegal Bedouin squatters’ camps, and has suffered for many years from crime, vandalism, burglary and agricultural theft. Nevatim was recently in the headlines following the shocking desecration of Jewish graves in the Moshav cemetery.

The frustrated farmers of Nevatim asked Regavim for help. We went to the National Enforcement Unit, the Israel Police, and the Israel Land Authority to demand a stop to this illegal land seizure. We explained that threats on farmers are not acceptable, and urged that the invader be kicked out and held accountable.

The lack of effective governance in the Negev is what led to this episode in the first place. For years, the State hasn’t exercised its authority and responsibilities in the Negev properly, rendering it Israel’s Wild South. This has allowed people to take the law into their own hands, which causes major distress and damage for regular, law-abiding residents of the Negev.

Thanks to Regavim’s pressure in this case, the invader was kicked out, the hut was dismantled, and the threats on the farmers were lifted. In March, finally, the farmers returned to work their lands.

We don’t always see the fruits of our efforts immediately, but in cases like these it’s clear how important and significant our work is. We’re hopeful that the Moshav’s workers will never again find themselves under threat; never again will their lands be seized illegally in broad daylight. If they seek our assistance, we will do whatever we can to help.

Before: illegal hut and takeover of land belonging to Moshav Nevatim
After: hut is dismantled by law enforcement authorities after Regavim’s intervention
PA ‘celebrates’ Tu b’Shvat near Rosh HaAyin

Yesterday (Sunday 24 January), the Palestinian Authority planted thousands of trees on Israeli state land, in an IDF firing zone. Participating in the event were armed Palestinian Police. Regavim: “While they’re establishing facts on the ground, the Israeli authorities are in winter hibernation.”

The Palestinian Authority held a ceremony yesterday (Sunday), planting some 2000 olive trees on Israeli state land, in IDF Training Ground 203 – adjacent to Rosh HaAyin to the east and Dir Balut in the west, in close proximity to the security barrier.

The event was filmed, photographed and publicized by Fatah– affiliated Radio Zeituna and on social media. Armed Palestinian Police officers were among those in attendance, and were filmed as they entered the IDF firing zone – despite the fact that are prohibited from entering Area C, the section of Judea and Samaria under Israeli jurisdiction.

This event is one element of a large-scale project that has taken shape over the past several years, in which the Palestinian Authority has planted millions of trees as a means of illegally seizing control of thousands of dunams in Area C.

The Palestinian Authority’s “agricultural annexation” focuses on land adjacent to roadways, surrounding Jewish communities, as well as state land – particularly in locations that are of high strategic and political importance.

“The Palestinian Authority has joined the Tu B’Shvat celebrations with well-planned ‘agricultural conquest’ projects – and thus far, the State of Israel is fast asleep,” said a spokesperson for Regavim. “These projects are supported by massive European funding, and the targeted locations are chosen with care to serve a clear and publicly-declared purpose: changing the map, by creating facts on the ground – and all within spitting distance of Rosh HaAyin and Gush Dan.”