Former police chief Aryeh Amit: The situation in the Negev is heading for an explosion

"The State of Israel doesn't exist in the Negev," says former police chief. "There's no governance, & people are scared to death."

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

צילום: משטרת ישראל

“Another three violent robberies committed by disgusting Bedouins. Nonsense. The most important point is that now there’s yet another stupid and superfluous position in the already inflated national police headquarters – head of the Crime Prevention Department.”

These were the harsh words used by former Police Commissioner Aryeh Amit, formerly head of police in the Southern region, to describe the situation in the south of the country – a situation that looks very much like the police have lost control of the situation.

“Already seventeen years ago,” Amit told Radio 103FM, “it was clear to me that the ‘State of Israel’ didn’t really exist in the Negev. And since then, things have only gotten worse – in fact, the situation has exploded, with the state losing control and effectively withdrawing from the south. There’s no police deterrence there, no governance, nothing. The only people doing good work in the Negev are the Green Patrol [a special unit originally created by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to police the Negev -ed.]. Other than that, the Bedouins do whatever they want. The State of Israel has failed to take any effective action for at least the last twenty years.”

Can anything be done? It comes down to determination and resolve, Amit says. “The State of Israel needs to make up its mind that the Negev is an integral part of the country, and that the police have to be in control of the situation there and go in to restore order. Life in the south has become a nightmare in recent years. The state has to give the police the confidence that they need, so that they really get down to work. Meanwhile, senior officers are busy saving their hides, and the police don’t even make a pretense of doing something about the real issues. People are scared to death. Stray bullets hit homes all over.”

Amit also criticizes the conduct of the judiciary in its abandonment of its true role – to deter and punish crime in the Negev. “The courts are a disgrace. There are no end of laws on the books, but in practice it makes no difference whatsoever, because the judges take pity on the criminals. If a Bedouin child spits on a police officer, they’d rather pretend it was raining.

“What should be done is to declare the Negev an emergency zone for a period of two to three months,” Amit suggests. “During that time, we would hit them hard, really hard, and straighten things out. Such an operation could have good results. The Bedouins won’t turn into fans of the State, nor will they become law-abiding citizens, but at least they would find out that they can’t do whatever they want.”