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 start of a new year gives us a unique opportunity to thank you for your support, encouragement and partnership.
This past year presented a new set of challenges. Lockdowns and social distancing, along with a volatile and exceptionally challenging political environment, forced us to find new, creative solutions in order to continue our important work. Despite it all, we are gratified by the progress we have made and the successes we have had in our fight to protect our national resources.
With your help, we protected our brothers and sisters in Lod and other mixed cities.
Our meticulously researched and carefully crafted strategic plan for the protection of state land in Area C and the Negev has taken center stage in the public discourse.
We successfully blocked highly polluting projects, and more.
All of our activities sent one message, loud and clear: The land of our forefathers – and of our children and grandchildren – is a good and beautiful land.
Throughout the year, and particularly at this time of year, we at Regavim share our success and our vision for the future with you, the partners who make our continued efforts possible. With your help and the help of the Almighty,we look forward to redoubling our efforts and achieving even more in the year ahead.
Our newest report, tracking the Palestinian Authority’s use of illegal schools as a tactic of annexation, has been presented to the government, and will be available in English soon.
Here’s a recent Israel Broadcasting Corp. video about the Negev, the 7th in a series already seen by thousands of Israelis:
The details of the coalition agreements publicized in the media yesterday evening (7 June) reveal that Bennett and Saar, who blamed Netanyahu for the failure of governance in the Negev, are not only failing to provide solutions – they are exacerbating the problem.
Aside from approving the whitewashing of thousands of illegal structures on about 11,000 dunams of land to create three “new communities“, the coalition agreements do not stipulate what will happen to the rest of the illegal Bedouin squatters’ camps nine months from now, and neither Bennett’s Yemina Party nor Saar’s New Hope Party will have the ability to influence the outcome in a government kept afloat by Mansour Abbas and his Islamist Raam Party.
The coalition agreements place both the Bedouin Settlement Authority and the Knesset’s Interior Committee, the key actors in the Negev issue, under the complete control of the left-wing bloc and Raam.
This situation has unparalleled destructive potential, setting a course for total abandonment of the Negev while rewarding rampant illegal Bedouin construction that imperils the healthy development of the Negev, home of the vast majority of the State of Israel’s land reserves.
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A Zionist NGO dedicated to preserving Israel's resources.