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January 31, 2013

A farewell to the Negev?

Begin’s plan had a near unanimous support in the Cabinet.

Regavim had been fighting this plan from the beginning.

Regavim works to increase awareness 
Sep 20, 2012 – Front Page………Stop the silent surrender of the Negev » … This Sukkot, please join Regavim, ZOA and Likud Anglos. for a two-part event to …

Regavim is worthy of your financial support 
Sep 11, 2012 – Regavim is the most important NGO we have, fighting the theft of our … I was putting the final touches on an article on the situation in the Negev, …

Arabs illegally settling the Negev in land grab race -
Aug 23, 2012 – As stated in Regavim literature, “Israel is losing its hold on the Jewish people’s lands,” including in the “very heart” of the country. In the Negev …

Illegal Housing Built on Private Land and … 
Sep 30, 2012 – Of Regavim, he said that, “It seems that this is a right-wing organization that does not want the Negev to develop and will take every opportunity …

By MICHAEL FREUND

Under no circumstances should tens of thousands of dunams of publicly-owned land be turned over to private individuals simply because they assert it is theirs without proof to substantiate their claims.

BEDUIN TAKE part in a protest in Beersheba

BEDUIN TAKE part in a protest in Beersheba Photo: Reuters

This past Sunday, the largest act of organized theft in the Jewish state’s history took place.

And the perpetrator was none other than the government of Israel.


At its first session since last week’s elections, the outgoing cabinet convened to approve a plan ostensibly aimed at settling the long-standing issue of illegal Beduin settlements in the Negev.

As anyone who has driven through the desert east or south of Beersheba can attest, the landscape is overrun with illicit Beduin dwellings, many of which have mushroomed into full-fledged unlawful communities. Some even sit adjacent to the Nevatim Air Base, a strategically vital military site, hugging its outer perimeter on all four sides. Just take a quick tour of the area on Google Earth, and you will see the extent to which unauthorized Beduin housing dots the terrain.

Indeed, for decades, the Negev has been under assault, as Beduin have been plunking themselves down along the length and breadth of the area with no regard for such mundane matters as property rights or building permits. Nonetheless, rather than enforcing the rule of law and preventing encroachment on state-owned lands, the government shamefully capitulated to law-breakers.

IN ITS decision, the cabinet approved a proposal put together by Minister Bennie Begin which would legalize the majority of the Beduin communities that have been set up over the years, in effect rewarding land-grabbers with most of the land they sought to grab.

As a result, over 100,000 precious dunams (10,000 hectares) of our collective patrimony will now be handed over to squatters. Vast expanses of the land of Israel are being stolen in broad daylight, and the government has now elected to become a willing accomplice to this act of land larceny.

Adding insult to injury, Begin’s proposal also grants compensation to those Beduin who will be forced to move out of the illegal homes they built on state-owned land. Yes, you read that correctly.

The treasury will be reimbursing trespassers for having to vacate land they tried to steal from the state.

In an interview on Israel Radio, former MK Pini Badash, who heads the Omer Regional Council in the northern Negev, denounced the government’s decision, saying, “Now people know that you can pressure the government and triumph, even if you broke the law.”

Sadly, he is right on the mark.

And as investigative journalist Kalman Liebeskind of Ma’ariv, who broke the story last Friday, pointed out, the government decision “is not a small technical decision devoid of meaning. It is a decision that changes the face of the Negev. It establishes that the state’s offer in the past to grant the Beduin hundreds of thousands of dunams is not enough for them, and therefore starting tomorrow we will offer them even more.”

“The State of Israel,” Liebeskind says, “is establishing dozens of new communities for the Beduin in dozens of locations in which they had settled illegally.”

IF YOU are scratching your head and wondering why the government would do this, you are not alone. In fact, the entire manner in which the decision was brought to a vote raises serious questions about its propriety.

According to Ma’ariv, government ministers received Begin’s 15-page proposal only on Thursday evening of last week, leaving them with little time to review it in advance of Sunday’s vote, let alone delve into its long-term ramifications and consequences.

And the fact that a caretaker government in its final days in office would move expeditiously to pass such a far-reaching package also raised many eyebrows.

Regavim, an independent research institute which has been among the few to raise the alarm over the future of the Negev, appealed to the Supreme Court in an effort to block the government vote, but the court rejected their petition.

To be sure, the question of Beduin land claims is a complex subject which has gone unresolved for more than four decades. As a result, the government established the Goldberg Commission in 2007, followed later on by the Prawer Committee, with the aim of bringing some order to the chaos.

That is certainly an important and noble goal, and solutions must be found for the Beduin population of the Negev that will allow them to live in dignity.

But the decision approved by the cabinet is simply scandalous, and the devious manner in which it was passed is no less dubious.

TO RESPOND to lawlessness with impunity is bad enough. But to grant it a prize, and a valuable one at that, is simply an invitation to further coercion and extortion.

Not surprisingly, various Beduin spokesmen reacted angrily to the government decision, saying it was still not enough to satisfy their demands.

In any event, according to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, the plan will require additional legislation to be approved by the Knesset and the next government in order to take effect, so there is still a chance to stop this folly before it is too late.

Under no circumstances should tens of thousands of dunams of publicly-owned land be turned over to private individuals simply because they assert it is theirs without proof to substantiate their claims. No self-respecting law-abiding society can function in such a manner, and Israel should not yield to threats in this regard.

Political pressure must be brought to bear on the next government as soon as it is formed to block the implementation of this foolhardy scheme.

For if it is allowed to move forward, we might as well just raise a white flag and declare: Farewell to the Negev.

Posted by Ted Belman @ 5:36 am | 34 Comments »

34 Responses to A farewell to the Negev?

  1. Canadian Otter says:

    “Political pressure must be brought to bear on the next government”

    What kind of political pressure? There is no real pro-land of Israel national organization with any clout. ~~~ Something significant could have come out of the latest Jerusalem Conference. But the main participants just agreed to meet next year, same time, same place.

    If MKs are not accountable, they should be at the very least subject to public shame. Even a small group could start something big exposing this and other betrayals.

    You should remember how mass public outrage managed to stop the flow of African infiltrators. Had people waited for authorities to solve the problem, nothing would have been done. But who’s going to organize anything? Israelis failed to re-elect the two best MKs in that entire Knesset: Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari. What a shame!

  2. Shy Guy says:

    Ted, try to interview the head of Regavim about the situation up north in the Galilee. Double the disaster!

  3. yamit82 says:

    Arabs already have a large majority in the Galilee. They will sooner or later demand autonomy. If BB is PM they will get it, especially if his boss, Obama demands it.

    There is no other way except Transfer of all Arabs out of Israel and the territories. Any other option will bring disaster upon us all and in the end the same result will be the result.

  4. Canadian Otter says:

    @ yamit82:
    If the present politicians can’t expel African illegals, there’s no way they can expel a single Arab – Israeli or not. And you can’t wait for voters to wake up. I don’t know what is going through their minds, and based on which imaginary world they cast their ballots. I still can’t explain how so many rallied behind Bennett, a newcomer, while turning their backs on experienced Eldad and Ben Ari. And another large number voted for Likud, with no idea what of was on its secret platform, and not even demanding to see it!!!

    It will be up to small groups to try to save the country. The biggest danger to the country right now is not the Arabs, not even Hizbullah or the Egyptians. It’s your own politicians. I just read the top story about the PM intending to recognize a provisional state of Palestine. This is NOT new. I read something like that way before the election, plus all those allusions to Disengagement part 2. And still the voters put their trust on Likud!

  5. yamit82 says:

    @ Canadian Otter:

    I do not fear nor rule out civil war, when all else fails. Such conflicts while tragic can have just the right cleansing effect necessary to divert Israel in the right direction.

    My money is still on Obama to do what our own leaders have not had the guts to do. Unite the Israeli people. At some point Obama will cross all red lines with us and put BB in a no choice position. No choice meaning to come to grips with the fact that America is Against us and we have no choice but to accept that reality and act accordingly. The initiative will never come from BB or our current political leaders. The break must be forced on us by Obama. BB will resist at all costs so the Pressure and actions by Obama must be so gross and so severe that even a________ (FILL IN EXPLICATIVE OF CHOICE) CAN’T HIDE IN DENIAL OR BEHIND GROVELING.

  6. Bill Narvey says:

    Legalizing the illegality of a group in a society to render that group’s illegal presence, legal, is on the face of it, a mindboggling outrage.

    That said, Israel has for the past 4 decades turned a blind eye to the growing problem of expanding Bedouin communities in the Negev. By ignoring the problem, the problem has only been made far worse.

    The reason for tolerating such illegal Bedouin occupation of Israeli land, likely had to do with a much feared political backlash from not only Palestinians, the Muslim Middle East and the Arab states in particular, including a violent backlash, but also a backlash from the international community.

    We have seen time and time again that the death or suffering of just one or a few so called “innocent” Palestinians at the hands of an Israeli retaliatory action grabs large front page headlines than the death and suffering of even more truly innocent Israelis who were targetted by Palestinian terrorists.

    Relatively speaking, few, if any world leaders and media organizations cry nearly as many tears of sorrow for innocent Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism as they do for the so called “innocent” Palestinian victims. Few if any of them speak out against Palestinian Jew-Israel hatred and rejectionism and the terrorism it leads to nearly as forcefully as they do against Israeli retaliatory attacks on Palestinian terrorists when a few so called innocent Palestinians are victims.

    This is nothing new. It is called the double standard by which Israel is judged by the world community. Those Western political and media leaders that recognize this double standard for the perverse outrage it is, do little to nothing to rid Israel of this grossly unfair and evil burden.

    In fact, these Western leaders apply this double standard to Israel, in less obvious, but real ways. For instance the Western political international community presses Israel for concessions to the Palestinians to induce them to just come to the negotiating table, but ask and demand little to nothing of the Palestinians.

    The West, especially the EU nations and the UN, provides exhorbitant amounts of funding to the Palestinians, directly or indirectly through pro-Palestinian and usually anti-Israel NGO’s, UNRWA and other UN or other government agencies. Why is that? Does the West and the UN figure they can buy Palestinian co-operation to make peace – any kind of peace, with Israel? The mountain of evidence accumulated over the past 40 years that it is not going to happen. Palestinians are users and takers, but give nothing in return but a perpetually extended hand to be filled by more largesse from the West invariably given without strings attached.

    As much as one rails against this evil burden of the double standard, the reality is that Israel has always been and still is forced to live under it. That is just theway it is.

    There is however, interesting a parallel to be drawn between Israel’s failure to take action against the Bedouin for the past 4 decades which now has created a huge problem that cannot be resolved by kicking the Bedouin squatters off Israeli land and the problem the U.S. is dealing with as regards their illegal alien problem.

    The etiology of the Israeli problem with Bedouins and the U.S. problem with the illegal aliens differs markedly, but both Israel and the U.S. face a problem that has magnified beyond all proportions and for which they see the only solution is to legalize the illegal status of a sector of society within their respective borders.

    There is also another major difference between Israel and the U.S. in seeking a solution in legalizing the illegal. That difference is size. The U.S. is a land mass of 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2). It has a huge amount of raw uninhabited land to accommodate population growth, even by illegal growth.

    Israel for its part is 20,770 km2 or about 8,000 Sq. miles. There is not much room for population growth and development.

    Apart from the Bedouin illegal occupation of parts of the Negev, Israel is now facing a mounting challenge as to what to do about the increasing number of illegal aliens within her borders.

    To conclude, trying to solve a problem of a defined identifiable group existing illegally in society by legalizing their presence in that society is mindbogglingly outrageous.

    Still, that problem has been for whatever reason, tolerated and thus enabled to worsen to the point that only aggressive physical action can remove such illegal aliens from society. If society is not prepared to take such action, what other option is there but to legalize the presence of the great many illegal aliens in society.

  7. Canadian Otter says:

    @ yamit82:
    Yamit, I’m not trying to dispute your assessment. You’ve always been spot on. But my instincts tell me that Israelis – the same ones who voted for Likud, Disengagement-Bennett, and the other leftist parties – will go along with anything that Bibi proposes, if he words it the right way. They voted blindly for Likud! No need to see the secret party platform. They trust him! And when he says “there is no choice but to disengage”, they’ll say to themselves, It’s for the best. He’ll allow settlers to remain where they are, but at some point he’ll withdraw IDF protection and offer them caravans in the Negev as temporary housing.~~~~~ This is all being done in psychological and logistic stages, in unspoken but well understood coordination with the UN/EU/US and the Arabs. How else can anyone explain the PA’s impressive diplomatic strides, their facts on the ground, their army, their control of eastern Jeruslam? It’s all being coordinated with the govt, including the complete freedom of action granted to pro-Arab NGOs to operate within Israel training the Arab ‘resistance’. ~~~~~ They are all doing their part to expedite partition. I don’t see a sign strong enough, or widespread enough, among the Israeli population to resist. There should be at least some sign of outrage by now, some attempt to at least organize… Where is it?

  8. Canadian Otter says:

    I often read about illegal Arab housing going up in Jerusalem. These are not isolated spots in the desert. These are ‘in-your-face’ illegal construction. But it’s allowed to continue. At the same time, Jews who venture into Arab-populated areas of Jerusalem are attacked with impunity. Police do not even go to their assistance. It’s Arab territory. This has been going on for years and getting worse. I can’t understand why or how – except that the government has already surrendered Jerusalem and waiting for the right time to make it official.

    INN has a whole section with articles on the subject of illegal Arab construction here – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Tag.aspx/10796

  9. the phoenix says:

    yamit82 Said:

    I do not fear nor rule out civil war, when all else fails

    altalena II?
    we are not talking here fighting and killing curious americans…but (admittedly) misguided brethrens!
    i FULLY understand your point on a cerebral level. it is on the emotional level, that i have a hard time with (though i understand that it might just come to that…)
    did you read tzvika amit’s ‘code blue’?
    this very subject…

  10. yamit82 says:

    the phoenix Said:

    did you read tzvika amit’s ‘code blue’?

    No, not yet, There is another option I didn’t raise and that is a Junior IDF Officer Coup, Hard to conceive but it’s an outside possibility.

  11. terrence says:

    @ yamit82:

    There is no other way except Transfer of all Arabs out of Israel and the territories. Any other option will bring disaster upon us all and in the end the same result will be the result.

    That is a nice glib statement but we all know it aint gonna happen, so why say it.

  12. yamit82 says:

    @ Canadian Otter:

    Understand one thing. None of our leading politicians right or left would ever conceive of or attempt to implement any land transfers or exchanges, even 2 state concept in the territories were it not for both FEAR of what the gentiles will say but even more what America does say or better yet dictate.

    The answers and the eventual corrective path of the Jewish people is outlined here. Eldad and Ben Ari are but two disciples of this outline. There are many many more. Enough I believe to instigate a counter-revolution of sorts when the time is ripe.

  13. yamit82 says:

    terrence Said:

    That is a nice glib statement but we all know it aint gonna happen, so why say it.

    The Jews have been proving you Nay Sayers, scoffers, realists and rationalists wrong for over three thousand years, don’t tell me what I know or don’t know.

    Playing the Odds

    “I’m not a betting man but I know something about “The Odds”.
    For example, if I had to pick a number between one and ten, the odds against picking the right number is ten to one. One number out of five thousand, the odds are five thousand to one.

    Two out of five thousand? The odds are exponentially higher.

    Three out of five thousand? I begin to lose count.

    Four out of five thousand and the odds are off the chart.

    In other words, if someone told me that they could guess right four times out of four from a field of five thousand items, I would say they’re either crazy, a genius or very lucky.

    Three thousand years ago, three-quarters of the globe remained unexplored. Nobody knew what existed in Australia, in South America, in the northernmost regions of Alaska or in the wilds of Africa.
    Yet, the bible goes out of its way to state that there is only one specie of mammal, anywhere in the world, that has a split hoof but doesn’t chew its cud. And the Bible names it – it’s called the pig.

    And lo and behold, the Bible is right.

    Okay. Easy stuff. One out of five thousand mammals and it “guessed” right.

    Then it names three other animals and says that these are the only ones in the world that DO chew their cud but DON’T have split hooves.

    And lo and behold, it gets it right again.

    Maybe it’s a fix. A setup. Maybe the One who wrote those lines also created all of the animals of the world so there’s nothing special about the prediction. He already knew!

    Hmmmm.”

  14. yamit82 says:

    @ terrence:

    A bit of Jewish Trivia. I know you love wine and probably enjoy French Chardonnay, well just to let you know it’s really Israeli wine at least it’s origins. “The grapes used to make Chardonnay are actually grapes that the French Crusaders brought back from here,” The word Chardonnay actually comes from two Hebrew words meaning “gate of G-d.” “Shar Adonai”. Most French wines are named after the region from where the grapes grow, such as Burgundy and Bordeaux, however there is no such region called Chardonnay in France.

    “When the Crusaders came to Israel, they wanted to bring a piece of the Holy Land back home with them, and knew of the famed grapes of Israel. So they brought some of them back to France and named them for the land itself.”

    There is also evidence that the grapes used in Chardonnay grow better in Israel because they are indigenous to the land. I think ours is better than French knock off and we are winning international prizes and recognition that this is so.

    What’s my point? Who would have thought we could do this in less than a hundred years.

    In Israel and with the Jews NEVER SAY NEVER!!!

  15. Honey Bee says:

    @ yamit82:

    Your amazing Yamit,I’m going to go to Israel and bring you back to Texas,where I shall plie you with BBQ and pick your brain.

  16. Andrew says:

    @ yamit82:

    You have just floored me Yamit. I was just enjoying a glass of Chardonnay (my favourite white wine) when I read your post. I NEVER KNEW THAT!!! I genuflect to you.

    PS. Can I join you and honybee for that Texas BBQ. I promise to bring some good aussie cab sav.

  17. Shy Guy says:

    yamit82 Said:

    “The grapes used to make Chardonnay are actually grapes that the French Crusaders brought back from here,” The word Chardonnay actually comes from two Hebrew words meaning “gate of G-d.” “Shar Adonai”.

    Internet urban legend. Not a drop of proof (no pun intended) to this story, even if INN once ran it without verifying it.

  18. rongrand says:

    @ yamit82:

    Uncle, by darn the whole world should know this.

    My point has been Israel lacks a super PR program. The marvels of the world originate in Israel and the liberal left media refuses to acknowledge it. It would rather foster lies and accusations purported by the fakestinians and the Arab world.

  19. yamit82 says:

    Shy Guy Said:

    Internet urban legend. Not a drop of proof (no pun intended) to this story, even if INN once ran it without verifying it.

    I didn’t see INN story but even a cursory GOOGLE would have led any searcher to the same facts or Urban Legend.

    Can anyone prove the story 100% accurate? No but neither can they prove the story absolutely false; all legends are based on some truths and my point was not to prove the legend true as fact or not and you know it so why be a lowdown killjoy, and over wine??

    https://www.google.co.il/#q=chardonnay+Israel+origins&hl=en&tbo=d&ei=3Q0SUbHQD8LO0QXeg4GgAw&sqi=2&start=10&sa=N&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=7fd03c12c22c13f&biw=1280&bih=750

    Unfortunately, chardonnay vines are shy-bearing and susceptible to a myriad of maladies. Not uncommon among wine grapes, the chardonnay vine also has a tendency to mutate and research has identified over 400 clonal variants. Each clone has chardonnay family traits, but displays individually specific tendencies in such characteristics as length of ripening cycle, crop load, berry and cluster size, acid retention, etc., therefore producing wines with various flavor differences.”

    Very low of you Shy, very Low.

  20. Shy Guy says:

    yamit82 Said:

    Very low of you Shy, very Low.

    I stand by my statement.

  21. Honey Bee says:

    @ Andrew:

    Darlin are you an Assie I love Aussie TV do you watch “The RaKe”.

  22. Shy Guy says:

    Honey Bee Said:

    Darlin are you an Assie

    Freudian slip?

  23. Honey Bee says:

    @ Shy Guy:

    Freud had nothing to do with it.

  24. yamit82 says:

    Shy Guy Said:

    Internet urban legend. Not a drop of proof (no pun intended) to this story, even if INN once ran it without verifying it.

    Speaking of Urban Legends to which there is no historical proof: The Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Moses, King David and Son. King Solomon.

    I stand by this statement.

  25. yamit82 says:

    Honey Bee Said:

    Your amazing Yamit,I’m going to go to Israel and bring you back to Texas,where I shall plie you with BBQ and pick your brain.

    I like BBQ and you can pick what’s left in my brain but if I may ask in advance. what’s for desert, Texas style?

  26. Honey Bee says:

    @ yamit82:

    Pecan Pie

  27. Honey Bee says:

    @ yamit82:

    ” Don’t Back Down”, another C&W song. We have vineyards in Texas now, in the Ft Stockton and Ozona area.

  28. Shy Guy says:

    yamit82 Said:

    I stand by this statement.

    I suppose you do. Excerpt from what you stand by:

    Galilee is brought into focus in the story of Jesus, who took on the role of winemaker at Cana (in the Galilee), when he changed the water into wine. This provides a connection to Israeli wine today, because two thousand years later, the Galilee is arguably Israel’s finest quality wine region. The Jewish roots of the Last Supper, which was basically a Passover Seder Night, are also discussed.

    Very low of you, Yamit, very Low.

    And with that, I wish you a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.

  29. yamit82 says:

    Andrew Said:

    @ yamit82:
    You have just floored me Yamit. I was just enjoying a glass of Chardonnay (my favourite white wine) when I read your post. I NEVER KNEW THAT!!! I genuflect to you.
    PS. Can I join you and honybee for that Texas BBQ. I promise to bring some good aussie cab sav.

    If it’s OK with cowboy it’s OK with me but I don’t know about translators from Texan to Aussi and Aussi to Texan?

  30. yamit82 says:

    Shy Guy Said:

    Very low of you, Yamit, very Low.

    And with that, I wish you a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.

    Shy Guy Said:

    Internet urban legend. Not a drop of proof (no pun intended) to this story, even if INN once ran it without verifying it.

    Shy Guy Said:

    Galilee is brought into focus in the story of Jesus, who took on the role of winemaker at Cana (in the Galilee), when he changed the water into wine. This provides a connection to Israeli wine today, because two thousand years later, the Galilee is arguably Israel’s finest quality wine region. The Jewish roots of the Last Supper, which was basically a Passover Seder Night, are also discussed.

    Hadn’t read that far but your excerpt is not relevant and out of context to the point I was trying to make. According to you it’s all an urban myth so what difference does it make. Don’t know why you chose to make an issue of this but you have.

    Since I have acute bronchitis and haven’t had a restful day or night in the last 4, thanks for your good wishes.

  31. yamit82 says:

    Honey Bee Said:

    Pecan Pie

    Pecan pie is fine, I like it with dollops of ice cream, thank-you very much!!

  32. Honey Bee says:

    @ yamit82:

    I was severely castised by C’boy, because did not include our Texas ice cream Blue Bonnet,named after the state flower.
    Sorry to hear you are ill, get lots of rest etc.
    The Aussie is welcome,C’boy never listens to any one.

  33. the phoenix says:

    @ yamit82:
    get well yamit.

  34. Canadian Otter says:

    @ yamit82:
    I also wish you a quick recovery, Yamit. Get well soon.

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