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“There is a Solution” to Unauthorized Bedouin Settlement in the Negev

 

After many months of hard work by the Regavim Movement, the program “There is a Solution” has been presented. This program provides the Israeli government direction as it comes to organize Bedouin settlement in the Negev. At the end of 2007 the Israeli government made a decision to set up a public commission headed by Judge Eliezer Goldberg (retired), known as the Goldberg Commission. In the course of 2008 the commission met numerous times and listened to the views of representatives of various government offices, representatives of the public and non-profit organizations dealing with the Bedouins in the Negev. Among others, representatives of Regavim appeared before the commission.

 

 

In the end of 2008, Judge Goldberg publicized the conclusions of the commission. The main conclusions dealt with the immediate need for clear policy in all aspects regarding Bedouin settlement, for tough and unambiguous law enforcement and the necessity to reach an arrangement on the subject of ownership claims. The commission also recommended settling all the Bedouin in legal settlements and in some cases, retroactively authorizing certain illegal settlements that meet specific criteria.

 

The recommendations of the Goldberg Commission are meant to suggest basic policy and are not a “work plan” that permits implementation of this policy.

The government of Israel decided, upon the publication of the recommendations of the Goldberg Commission, to establish an executive staff for the commission’s recommendations headed by Mr. Udi Prawer, head of the policy division in the prime minister’s office. The government placed the responsibility on the executive staff to set up, based on the recommendations of the committee, an operative work plan to solve the problems of the Negev Bedouin, based on the committee’s recommendations.

In light of this, Regavim staff members, together with academics, security personnel, intellectuals and elected officials put together the program “There is a solution.”

The purpose of this program is to organize Bedouin settlement in the Negev comprehensively and permanently, while preserving Zionist interests in the State of Israel.

The program consists of four interdependent and integrated stages:

Cessation Stage – Ceasing all illegal construction and land takeover in the Negev

Preparatory Stage – Solving the issue of the claims to ownership, providing a solution to residency problems and rehabilitating veteran settlements

Evacuation Stage – Transfer of Bedouin population from illegal settlements to authorized settlements

New Leaf – Preventing repetition of the illegal settlement phenomenon in the Negev

The program was distributed to Knesset members, members of the government and influential media personalities in Israel and abroad.  Representatives of Regavim meet with decision makers in Israel all the time, in order to present the main points of the program and influence the decisions of Israel regarding this subject.

To read the program in English, click here.

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