When you repeat a lie so many times, it becomes the accepted truth. That’s a tactic the international media and left-wing NGOs have been implementing in the last few days. They’ve been making a lot of noise about a Bedouin ‘village’ in the Jordan Valley that was torn down by Israel — again.
For the sixth time in a year, a number of tents and pens in so-called Khirbet Humsa were removed by the Civil Administration last week, setting the Pallywood machine into full motion, as customary. Israel was portrayed as the evil oppressor that denies poor Bedouin a life of safety and security, blah blah.
But the story is a little more complex.
In an area that has been an active IDF live-fire zone since 1972, Bedouins set up camp in 2010. To prevent their removal from the site, the Bedouins appealed three times (in April & July 2011, and in November 2014) to the High Court of Justice. Each time, the appellants invoked a new excuse – Ramadan, the weather, who knows what – to try to cling onto the land. The appeals were all rejected, and the illegal outpost has been dismantled and re-erected a number of times since the High Court rulings. Anti-Israel groups, foreign media outlets and governments are loving it.
Yet as our satellite images show, in 2008 there was nothing there! In 2013, an image of the same point shows only one structure, and in 2019 there were already a number of EU-funded structures.
It’s a game. The IDF removes the structures, left-wing “human rights” activists come along with their cameras, and then PA officials come to rebuild the “structures” (more like tents). In the meantime, the vulnerable population that lives there is being exploited cynically by the PA. The Palestinian Authority would serve these people better by enabling them to live somewhere legal, somewhere no Israeli permits are required, such as the 63% of Areas A and B that are completely empty and available for whatever use they choose.
But no. Because this is a political issue.
Bedouin are sent to seize strategic locations in Judea and Samaria, lured by various benefits, often placed in tough and dangerous conditions. It’s a win-win situation for the PA. If the Bedouin manage to consolidate their settlement, it’s a successful land grab! And if they’re kicked out by Israel – false narratives can be peddled through the international media, and Israel can be painted as the evil denier of rights, etc.
Don’t fall prey to the Palestinians’ propaganda. Please help us get the truth out. We don’t expect anti-Semites to be convinced by facts, but regular, fair-minded, truth-seeking people around the world deserve to know the full facts and history. Share this article.
Recently, we exposed, along with journalist Lia Spilkin that a huge number of old Egged buses were sold to an illegal junkyard. Since the operation of the junkyard was carried out without supervision, ignoring all regulations and requirements, the environmental damage was huge, and old vehicle parts found their way onto the black market.
Egged claimed that it’s not responsible for what happens in junkyards that it doesn’t own. Even if the purchase of old buses is made by a criminal, and despite the environmental damage, Egged isn’t interested. When we asked for information about the buyer, the bus company refused to comment.
Regavim approached the Civil Administration to demand enforcement action against the junkyard, located on IDF Training Ground 203 in the western Binyamin region. Civil Administration officials responded, as expected, that enforcement will take place “in accordance with established priorities”.
On this occasion, the public and media attention clearly had an effect: the Civil Administration evacuated the junkyard and confiscated the criminals’ work vehicles.
We plan to monitor the situation on the ground to make sure that the criminals don’t return to their damaging ways. All over the country, we shall continue our Zionist activities, fighting for the protection of Israel’s environment and land resources. If you want to be part of our important efforts, you’re invited to donate to Regavim.
Regavim calls on any government that is formed not to abandon the Negev. The Negev is a key part of the Zionist vision! But when the State of Israel fails to govern, other forces fill the void. Regavim invites you to take a long, hard look at where we are and where we’re headed in the Wild South; it’s not too late to change course.
Security Coordinator whose weapon was impounded last year when spiteful, baseless charges were filed against him by criminals, was wounded last night as he fended off a terrorist with his bare hands while protecting his community.
Last night (Sunday 30 May) a terrorist who infiltrated from the Gaza Strip stabbed the Security Coordinator of one of the Shalom Region communities. The Security Coordinator, who had been awarded certificates of excellence for his outstanding service, was unarmed: Last year, criminals whom he had apprehended and turned over to the police took revenge against him by filing trumped up charges with the Internal Affairs Department. Only last week, the Security Coordinator appealed, with the assistance of Regavim, for the return of his firearm, but his appeal was rejected.
The Security Coordinator of Avshalom, a Jewish community in the “Gaza Envelope” region, prevented what might have been a major terrorist attack, fending off an infiltrator who crossed the security barrier from Gaza armed with knives under cover of darkness last night (Sunday). The Security Coordinator sustained stab wounds to the arms and stomach, and was evacuated to the hospital for medical care. A second security team member, who arrived at the scene while the struggle was in progress, shot the intruder and neutralized him.
The absurdity of the situation can’t be missed: The first responder at the scene, who sprang into action in response to the alert sounded by residents of the community, has been forced to fulfill his security duties for the past year barehanded, as a result of a spiteful, unfounded complaint filed against him by Bedouin criminals from the squatters’ camp at Bir Hadaj whom he apprehended last year. Only last week, the appeal submitted to the Internal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Homeland Security by this decorated and highly regarded Security Coordinator and the Security Coordinator of another nearby Jewish community, with the assistance of the Regavim Movement, was rejected on the grounds that there was “cause for concern for the public’s safety.”
The two Security Coordinators are Israel Police volunteers, and in the course of their duties last year they detained several suspects. The police officer who joined them issued the suspects citations for serious safety infractions and for violations of corona regulations then in force.
As the situation unfolded, the suspects threatened the volunteer policemen, warning them that they would take revenge. Soon after, they submitted a complaint to the Internal Affairs Investigation Unit, claiming that the volunteers had drawn their weapons on them. As a result, the two Security Coordinators’ personal firearms were impounded, forcing them to submit an appeal with the assistance of the Regavim Movement’s Legal Department.
Absurd as it may sound, their appeal was rejected on the grounds that these highly regarded security specialists pose a potential “danger public safety,” despite the fact that both men continue to take part in active police activity and carry firearms while on duty as volunteer policemen and during their IDF reserve duty, to which both men were conscripted in recent weeks.
“Tonight, it became clear beyond a shadow of doubt that this brave and professional Security Coordinator is no threat to public safety – he is the protector of public safety. If the terrorist had come upon women and children rather encountering this trained and fearless man, tonight would have ended in tragedy,” said Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim. “I hope the Ministry of Public Security will come to its senses immediately and return the Security Coordinators’ weapons without delay.”
UPDATE (2 June): In face of this injustice, Regavim felt the need to intervene and help these two brave men. We raised the issue in the media and on our social media platforms, and made sure the entire country heard about the joint fight of Andrei, his friend Bert, and Regavim.
Yesterday, thanks to Regavim’s legal pressure, and thanks to the help of Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana, the two Security Coordinators received their weapons back. In the afternoon, Regavim’s Director General and Spokesman traveled down south to meet Andrei and Bert and award them certificates to thank them for their service.
We are pleased and honored to have been able to help these two men, to correct a wrong, and to improve their personal safety, as well the security and safety of Israel’s southern residents.
Shin Bet, together with the IDF and Israel Police, has exposed what Regavim has been shouting for ages. Under the guise of “humanitarian aid”, millions of euros that are donated to the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) actually fund terrorist activities.
For years, we’ve been sounding the alarm bells about the direct link between European funds and terrorist organizations. Take, for example, the Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC), the ‘agricultural arm’ of the PFLP – a terror organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Last year, it was reported that the Dutch government paid the salaries of two senior UAWC members, Samer Arbid & Abdel Raziq Faraj, who murdered 17-year-old Jewish girl Rina Shnerb.
In our 2018 report ‘Roots of Evil’, we also exposed the UAWC’s illegal projects in Area C, intended to create facts on the ground and establish a de-facto Palestinian state.
The Europeans and their various aid groups like to meddle in Israel’s internal affairs. We think that this needs to stop. European colonialism, while cleverly and slyly masked as “humanitarian aid”, violates Jewish national and individual rights in the Land of Israel. All this reminds us of an age-old term that begins with an A…
The State of Israel enacted an effective enforcement order to fight the Palestinian takeover of Judea and Samaria, but the Civil Administration has refrained from using it – despite the approval of the High Court of Justice. Now, the Regavim Movement and the Samaria Regional Council have submitted a High Court petition demanding that the legislation be applied against Palestinian invasion of an archaeological site in Samaria.
Over the past several months, Regavim has documented a persistent stream of incursion and annexation, as residents of Burkin, a village located in the area under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction, have taken over a significant parcel of land in the Ariel Commercial Zone – located in Area C, under full Israeli jurisdiction.
The area that is being quietly annexed is adjacent to an archaeological site known as Khirbet Khurkosh, where a magnificent Hellenistic Era mausoleum was discovered, along with other remains dating from the Iron Age through the Middle Ages.
This gradual annexation began with road work, which was soon followed by land clearing and preparation for agricultural work. Mature olive trees were quickly planted, in an attempt to make the newly-cleared area look “old” – and now, a large structure, already connected to electricity infrastructure despite its considerable distance from the village, is nearing completion. This entire project is unfolding on “survey land,” Israeli state land for which full registration has not been completed.
The recently-filed High Court petition emphasizes that six different requests for enforcement were submitted to the relevant authorities at each of the stages of the annexation process, but the work continued, unhindered, and no discernable enforcement has been carried out.
For years, the Palestinian Authority and its partners in the European Union have exploited the Israeli bureaucratic and legal systems, successfully preventing law enforcement against illegal Palestinian annexation.
In 2018, the “Order for the Removal of New Illegal Structures” was enacted by the defense establishment and the State Attorney’s Office as part of the “Battle for Area C.” This legislation allows the demolition of new structures built without a permit within six months of construction. The order may be implemented within 96 hours of issuance of an eviction order.
The “Removal of New Structures” order is an effective enforcement tool that makes it possible to streamline the law enforcement process and make it more difficult for offenders to establish facts on the ground by abusing the judicial process.
After the “Removal of New Structures” order was enacted, left-wing organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice to strike it down, but their petition was rejected and the High Court approved the order’s use. Nonetheless, to this day the state has made minimal use of this order, despite the fact that it has proven to be the most efficient and effective tool in the fight against illegal construction.
In the petition filed by Regavim Movement and the Samaria Regional Council, attorneys Avi Segal and Yael Cinnamon requested that the High Court order the authorities to apply the “Order for Removal of New Structures” against the ongoing invasion of Khirbet Khurkosh.
Samaria Council Chairman Yossi Dagan said: “The Security Cabinet announced its intention to battle the PA’s annexation of Area C, and the time has come for the enforcement authorities to act accordingly – to approach the problem in a systematic fashion and to act systematically. We must stop the Palestinian Authority’s rampage, and tell them, loudly and clearly, who’s the boss.”
The joint petition stresses that “this case illustrates the PA’s systematic, well-financed and carefully-planned takeover of Area C, which seeks to shift the focal point of Palestinian development from Area B to Area C. The Palestinian Authority is establishing facts on the ground in order to tie Israel’s hands – both in terms of current security considerations and in terms of political leverage in strategic points in Area C. These one-sided facts on the ground will impact the opening positions for future negotiations, and the State of Israel must address them right now.”
The Squatters’ Highway: How the PA connects illegal encampments in Area C to the villages of Area B
The Palestinian Authority has blazed a new illegal trail through the Jordan Valley, connecting the towns of Taysir and Tubas in Area B to its network of illegal outposts in Area C. Regavim: “The Palestinian Authority continues to carry out its masterplan for territorial contiguity in the Jordan Valley, and the State of Israel continues to allow it.”
In recent months, the Palestinian Authority has invested massive human and financial resources to create a new illegal road connecting the large Arab villages of Taysir and Tubas in eastern Samaria with the network of illegal outposts near the Jewish communities of Ro’i and Beqaot and the IDF bases of the Jordan Valley.
The Regavim Movement has been tracking, documenting and warning the authorities about the project for many months: The PA began work on the illegal “squatters’ highway” in Area C as early as November last year. Initially, paving materials were deposited in neat piles all along the route; now, only a few short months later, they have been steamrolled into a solid and smooth surface to accommodate vehicular traffic.
Regavim alerted the Civil Administration and other relevant authorities in the early stages of the project, demanding decisive enforcement action against the illegal activity and those responsible for it. Nonetheless, the PA has managed to steamroll and surface the entire roadway without interference, and if the current pace of “law enforcement” continues, there is every reason to believe that the road will soon be fully paved with asphalt.
“We warned the Civil Administration and the authorities, and appealed to them to take swift, active steps to prevent further progress of the work on the road, designed to support the illegal structures already on the ground and to link the scattered outposts into a network and connect them to the central villages of Area B, but they did nothing,” said Eitan Melet, Regavim’s Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria.
“The Palestinian Authority is constantly working to create contiguity of Palestinian settlement; they aren’t standing around waiting for a Civil Administration inspector to show up and stop them. Either knowingly or unwittingly, the inaction of the enforcement authorities and the State of Israel is enabling the Palestinian Authority to achieve its vision of territorial contiguity and control in the Jordan Valley.”
Israel’s High Court of Justice denies appeal of landowners whose property has been overtaken by thousands of Bedouin squatters: “This case does not justify judicial interference.”
After a decade of legal proceedings, yesterday (Monday) Israel’s High Court of Justice denied an appeal by owners of private property who sought a court-mandated deadline for the removal of squatters from their land – land located on the outskirts of Bir Hadaj, the crime capital of the Negev. “An outrageous miscarriage of justice.”
Yestrday (Monday), Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected a petition filed by individual land owners whose property has been overrun by Bedouin squatters. Over the past number of years, more than 1,000 Bedouin families invaded state land and private properties on the outskirts of Kibbutz Revivim, while rejecting a series of increasingly generous relocation-compensation packages offered by the Israeli government. The owners of the property took their case to court ten years ago, and in their most recent appeal, they sought a court-mandated timetable for the restoration of their property.
In stark contrast to a well-established record of High Court judgements that required the state to remove Jewish homes built on privately-owned Arab property according to non-negotiable deadlines, in the case of the Jewish landowners of Bir Hadaj, Justices Groskopf, Mazuz and Wilner decided that “the rights of ownership of the appellants regarding their private property are not absolute, and do not exist in a vacuum,” and that this “is not among those exceptional and extreme cases that justify judicial intervention in the policy of the authorities responsible for enforcing planning and construction laws.”
The squatters’ camps near Bir Hadaj began to take shape in the early 2000s, after the Israeli government temporarily relocated 15 families from the Ramat Beka area to state land near Kibbutz Revivim. This set off a massive movement of families from the Al Azazmeh tribe, who quickly covered thousands of dunams of state land in the vicinity, as well as some 2000 dunams of land owned privately by Jews, with hundreds of illegal structures.
This sprawling squatters’ camp has grown into the crime capital of southern Israel, an exterritorial no man’s land where Israeli law enforcement is virtually nonexistent. Residents of the squatters’ camp have been in the news recently: The suspects in the rape of a 10-year old girl in the course of a home invasion, the massive drug production plantations on the nearby Tzeelim firing zone, large-scale plunder of IDF ammunition and harassment of IDF trainees and reservists are all “credited” to residents of the Bir Hadaj hinterland.
In 2003, the Israeli government decided to create a new, legal alternative for the squatters: an all-Bedouin town, built on state land. Each of the squatter families was offered a “compensation” package of hundreds of thousands of shekels as well as a 5 dunam plot of land (!) – but this wasn’t enough to convince the squatters to relocate.
The owners of the stolen land, together with the Regavim Movement, petitioned the Beer Sheva District Court, asking that the state be required to provide a timetable for the evacuation of the squatters, but the government responded that it was carrying out negotiations with the squatters with the aim of achieving a mutually-acceptable evacuation – and the petition was dismissed. When the much-awaited agreement didn’t materialize, a second petition was filed in 2015 – which the court denied without explanation.
A third petition was filed after the Director of the Bedouin Authority, Yair Maayan, released an official announcement that all attempts to achieve a mutually-accepted evacuation agreement had failed.
The owners of the purloined property returned to court, proving that from the time they had first petitioned, the squatters had built hundreds of additional illegal structures on their property. To make matters worse, what meager law enforcement activity had taken place in the interim (6 relocation agreements were signed with squatters, out of over 1000) had focused on clearing state-owned land, and the private owners were left ‘high and dry.’
This third petition was also denied, despite the government’s response to the court that it could not predict when enforcement activity would be completed in the squatters camp as a whole, and in the privately-owned sections in particular. The property owners turned to the High Court of Justice to appeal the District Court decision.
Yesterday (Monday), the High Court of Justice denied their appeal. “The situation in Bir Hadaj as a whole, and in the privately-owned section in particular, is unacceptable,” wrote Justice Groskopf in the opening words of the judgement. “The state must not accept a situation in which there are areas under its jurisdiction that are beyond the law,” and even after a decade has passed, “it is unclear when the owners of the property will be able to exercise their rights to it.”
Nonetheless, the judges refused to require the state to adhere to a deadline for evacuation of the property. “The appellants’ ownership rights to the privately-owned land, which undoubtedly and undeniably been harmed, are not absolute and do not exist in a vacuum. They are to be weighed against the state’s policy of creating appropriate regulation solutions for the illegal compound at Bir Hadaj, in the larger context of efforts to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev.”
Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim, reacted to the judgement: “This is a miscarriage of justice that cries out to the very heavens. In inverse cases, the High Court ordered the wholesale evacuation of Jewish communities and the destruction of Jewish homes according to draconian, non-negotiable timetables. In this case, it has become clear that the government itself is creating the cesspool of lawlessness that is exploding on us all. The squatters’ camps have become an exterritorial incubator for the horrors that continue to befall Israeli citizens of the Negev and beyond. The unthinkable has become the norm; the rape of a child in her own home, the invasion and looting of IDF bases, and the terrorizing of law abiding Israelis speak for themselves.”
Chaim Goloventsis, one of the owners of the land, added: “We must not accept a reality in which the High Court of Justice once again denies us the right to our property. I am convinced that if our land had been located in the 03 area code (i.e., greater Tel Aviv), the judgement would have been totally different. This is just one more pathetic, embarrassing instance of the breakdown of the state’s institutions in southern Israel.”
Ignoring a small problem allows it to turn into a big problem.
Last night’s case in point: Bedouin bandits infiltrated the Israel Air Force base at Nevatim; IAF helicopters engaged in an hours-long chase.
The State of Israel has been ignoring the cracks in law and order in the Negev for so long, they’ve become a “grand canyon” – and tonight’s events in the Negev prove the point.
In the last two weeks alone the Negev has seen horrific and varied forms of criminal behavior: The shocking sexual assault of a little girl in her home, the break-in at the Israel Air Force base at Sde Teiman that included a stun grenade attack on our soldiers, a string of robberies in Be’er Sheva that were caught on film and uploaded to social media, the desecration of a Jewish cemetery, a massive ammunition heist, and now, a break-in at the Nevatim base, where Israel’s top-secret aeronautical technology is housed.
It’s time for the State of Israel to draw a line in the sand. For the sake of each and every citizen of Israel, we demand that the government formulate a comprehensive, non-negotiable solution to the problem of Bedouin crime in the Negev.
There’s been a tremendous amount of “chatter” recently – including governments condemning Israel and members of the US Congress referring to “ethnic cleansing” and serious crimes” committed by Israel in the case of Khurbet Humsa.
Although Regavim was not involved in this case, here are some facts to give you a more accurate picture of the story, which the European Union has failed do to.
In each case the appellants tried a new excuse – Ramadan, the weather, who knows what – to prevent their removal from the site; in each case the court rejected the appeal out of hand. The area has been an active IDF training ground since 1972 (Firing Grounds 903), and the Bedouin didn’t set up camp there until 2010.
The satellite images we obtained are of the training grounds in 2008, focusing on the spot that was recently evacuated, followed by an image of the same point in 2013 (where only one structure is visible), and another in 2019 (where the recently-demolished structures, complete with European donors’ symbols, stand).
We haven’t done in-depth research on this illegal outpost, and weren’t involved in the legal process that resulted in last week’s demolitions, but this phenomenon is repeated over and over in IDF training grounds. In the case of the southern Hebron Hills area, a city has sprung up on what was IDF Firing Zones 917 and 918. As the Palestinian Authority and the European benefactors flooded the training grounds with more and more structures (not tents or shacks but massive, even palatial homes), the IDF gradually withdrew in order to avoid injuring the squatters, eventually abandoning the training grounds altogether. It’s no coincidence that this area was targeted for aggressive take-over: It forms a land bridge between Area A to the Negev and beyond, and is an active smuggling route.
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