Is the state finally taking action to stop illegal Bedouin construction in the Negev?
A 250-man new police unit is in the process of being established in the police's Southern District, with the specific purpose of enforcing the law against illegal construction in the Negev. The vast majority of illegal construction is carried out by Bedouin Arabs.
The unit is being established as part of the implementation of reports filed by the Goldberg and Praver committees on the matter of illegal Bedouin construction. These committees proposed retroactive legalization of much of the illegal building along with strict enforcement against future illegal building.
The Regavim movement for Jewish national property rights, which monitors illegal Arab construction, responded positively to the news Sunday. "To our surprise, the High Court also recently commented on the absurdity of non-enforcement against building offenses in the Negev. In a High Court motion filed by Regavim against the village of Abu Basma, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis told the State Attorney representative that it is unbearable that an area of 2 million dunams is supervised by just one inspector."
"We would like to hope that allocation of the 250 new positions in the police's Southern District will be the harbinger of the return of the rule of law to the Negev," Regavim said. The group called for "a drastic change in the enforcement climate in the Negev" not only with regard to construction but also in taxation and road safety.