Illegal Arab buildings
Illegal Arab buildingsRegavim

The Regavim movement responded to the government decision to establish new Bedouin settlements for relocation of the residents of squatters' encampments in the Negev: "The government’s newest plan may be a breakthrough, or it may be a breakdown.

"On the one hand, this plan presents a vision that has the potential to change the Negev, to restore state land to government control, and to begin the long-overdue process of resettling the Bedouin currently dispersed over the open spaces of the Negev in legal communities. The plan abandons the method that has become standard practice over the past decade: expanding existing Bedouin towns in a seemingly endless cycle of “municipal boundary extensions.” The plan presented in the government session today stipulates that if the conditions for legalization of the new settlements are not met, the plan will be scrapped and no new towns will be recognized.

"On the other hand, the government bears the burden of proof for this plan. To date, Israeli governments have known how to offer carrots but have refrained from using sticks; it has offered ever-increasing incentives for resettlement, but has not carried our enforcement against those who have not lived up to the terms of the generous resettlement packages - Bedouin claimants who have accepted the cash and land settlements without resettling, or even ceasing illegal construction. This new plan, like those that came before it, is also made up of carrots and sticks; the government must prove that it intends to follow through on the entire package and implement the terms in full - including the relocation of squatters and reclamation of public property - and discontinue the policy of continuous expansion of the “footprint” of Bedouin-sector settlement.