Bedouin takeover of Negev leads to new campaign

The constant stream of shocking news from the Negev led to Regavim’s decision to address the spiraling loss of Israeli control in the region.   

By World Israel News Staff

An Israeli NGO, Regavim, on Wednesday launched a new campaign to the government’s failure to adequately deal with Bedouin land grabs in the desert.

Regavim, which specializes in Israeli land issues, says that the Israeli government has attempted to counter the loss of governance and the spread of illegal squatters’ camps in southern Israel by offering “compensation” payments and free land to the Bedouin of the Negev.

The Bedouin continue to reject any and all of the government’s offers because they know that their hardball tactics will be rewarded with more attractive offers as time goes by, the group says.

To bring attention to the issue, Regavim launched a new campaign to address the growing problem, starting with a video clip featuring a father and his young boy explaining to the child the Bedouin’s negotiating tactics and how more will come to them as long as they keep saying no to Israeli offers.

Regavim says its campaign is a response to a string of recent incidents that have highlighted the anarchy that continues to plague the Negev. The campaign calls upon the Israeli government to put a stop to the downward spiral, and to prevent the creation of a state-within-the-state in the Negev.

“In recent years, the State of Israel seems to have lost its grip: Sovereignty in the southern region of Israel has been relinquished to the state that is slowly being built in the Negev. More and more illegal enclaves continue to spring up throughout the territory – and all the while, the Israeli government continues to turn a blind eye,” Regavim said in a statement.

Regavim noted the breakdown in law and order in the Negev that has been reported in the news recently, with gangs of criminals entering IDF bases and stealing weapons and other equipment, assaults, rapes, shooting up residential neighborhoods with automatic weapons and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries.

Regavim CEO Meir Deutsch said, “Ben-Gurion, who famously declared that the resolve of the People of Israel will be tested and proved in the Negev, must be turning over in his grave at the sight of the abandonment of the Negev and the devolution of southern Israel into an ex-territorial no man’s land.

“Instead of increasing enforcement and governance, instead of iron-fisted rule of law and the dissolution of the illegal squatters’ camps, the Israeli government is whitewashing and ‘legalizing’ them, perpetuating and enabling the Bedouin takeover,” he said.