Likud: We are saving the Negev, not abandoning it

Likud official responds to criticism of government decision to regulate 3 Bedouin settlements in the Negev.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Negev Bedouin
Negev Bedouin
Flash 90

A Likud official rejected the accusations of the Knesset Land of Israel lobby that the government's decision to advance the regulation of three Bedouin settlements in the Negev represents an abandonment of the southern region to illegal construction.

The source stated: "Bezalel Smotrich's statement is incorrect - quite the opposite. The decision regarding the Bedouin does not abandon the Negev but saves it."

The official quoted the Regavim movement's statement on the issue, which stated: "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 source added, "Instead of a pirate takeover scattered in the area, the decision regulates and centralizes Bedouin settlement in urban centers. It will be recalled that the Netanyahu-led government approved only this month the establishment of a new Jewish settlement in the northern Negev."

Addressing the issue of the 'Young Settlements,' the regulation of which has been frozen in the government, the source stated: "The Likud demanded that the issue be raised, but according to government regulations, the opposition of Blue and White prevents this. The Likud will continue to work to approve the issue soon. No one has done more for the settlements than Netanyahu, who built in the settlements and brought an American recognition of their legitimacy, and only a few weeks ago led to huge US investments in Judea and Samaria and for more than a decade stood up to tremendous pressure for displacements and evictions, as no other prime minister has done."

"Only Prime Minister Netanyahu will maintain settlement in the face of all international pressures. He has been doing this for about 15 years and everyone knows that only he can," the Likud source added.