Israel offering free land to Bedouins

Does the state intend to grant some 10,000 dunams to Bedouin communities in the Negev by expanding
the 'Blue Lines?'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bedouin village in the Negev
Bedouin village in the Negev
Flash 90

The Bedouin Authority and the Israel Lands Authority are promoting a plan to grant the lands to the communities of Kia, Kuseife, Aruer and Rahat, despite the fact that the villages have uninhabited areas and the fact that their are unsettled property ownership claims over the land, Arutz Sheva has learned.

According to a report by the Regavim organization, there are 1,685 dunams (416 acres) of land available for the Bedouin community, over and above the land in which there is a claim - some of which is occupied and some not. There are 1,241 dunums (306 acres) of land beyond the areas on which there are claims, while the rest is vacant.

Lakiya, for example, has only 69 dunams (17 acres) available, but there too there are many vacant areas. In Kuseife, supposedly, there is no available space today, but in practice most of the land in the village is in the same state of ownership claims and some of them are not built at all.

To this day, there have hardly been any Bedouins who have won state claims for land in the Negev.

A source close to the issue tells Arutz Sheva how the Bedouin communities are steadily expanding. "They come to these communities and ask them for a program that will assess their natural growth, and of course they are rioting with the plans, and the state intends to give them everything they wanted."

Regavim, which is working to examine the matter in depth, said that "expanding the blue lines of the three communities before exhausting the planning potential existing in the area of ​​the current settlement is an escape from a root canal on the issue of ownership claims and the regulation of the illegal dispersion."

The movement also said that "the Bedouin Authority is evading the actual arrangement of the scattering in the permanent settlements, and is implementing an 'ostrich policy' according to which it will expand the areas of the settlements more and more and thus include an illegal dispersion within the boundaries of the community whose area will be multiplied by tens of percent, The new one is also in the area where there are ​​ownership claims."

"The Authority is not currently planning plots in the settlements because of the fear of legal contention with those claiming ownership, and so it will also happen in the additional area," said Regavim.

The Negev Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority said in response: "During the consultation stage, the plans were presented to a number of organizations and individuals, including the heads of the Regavim movement who gave their blessing to the programs."

"In any case, the Bedouin Authority also plans on land that has claims of ownership and also exploits all available state land within a blue line of law settlement before it promotes plans for required additions to the areas of the settlements," the authority said.

"The mandate of the Bedouin Authority is to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev, to end the phenomenon of illegal dispersal, and to respond to the needs of natural growth. For example, the authority is promoting neighborhoods to absorb 5,000 families that will be evacuated from scattered communities.

"The figures show that in the last few years there has been a turnaround in the Negev: there has been a decline in the extent of the illegal takeover of land beyond the Blue Line, compared to previous years, and there has also been a significant increase in enforcement and demolitions. The illegal structures that were built this year, Minister Uri Ariel will tour the area next Sunday to further enforce enforcement in 2019."