A 'young community' in Samaria
A 'young community' in SamariaFlash90

A recent report compiled by the Knesset’s Research & Information Center reveals the extent to which the current government discriminates between Jewish and non-Jewish settlement across the country, with hundreds of thousands of construction violations in the Arab sector having been legalized over the past two years alone.

In 2020, for instance, 60,000 illegal housing units had their status regularized; in 2019, the number was double that, at 120,000 housing units. All these housing units are located in Arab towns and villages.

Various measures led to the construction being authorized, including government decisions taken within the last few years, and the establishment of new communities for Bedouins in the Negev and Arabs in the Galilee region. Huge budgets were allocated for infrastructure and the building of community structures such as schools.

The Young Settlements Forum, which succeeded on Tuesday in foiling the government’s attempt to establish several new villages for Bedouins in the Negev, expressed its outrage at the blatant discrimination being displayed by the government, seemingly as a matter of policy.

A senior figure in the Forum noted that, “There are around 20,000 Jews in dozens of settlements across Judea and Samaria who are still waiting for their communities to have their status regularized. This process should be given top priority – because it is the correct, logical, and responsible thing to do, given that these communities were established with the encouragement and support of successive governments. The residents of these communities deserve to have infrastructure and basic services, and the failure of the government to see to this is all the more outrageous in light of the widespread authorization of illegal Arab construction as revealed in this report.”

He added that, “It is incomprehensible that an Israeli government – any government, but especially one headed by the Likud party – should not be prepared to accord to Jewish settlers what they readily accord to Bedouins. Even cynicism and foot-dragging have their limits.”

The Forum is now demanding that the Prime Minister and Defense Minister immediately state their position on regularizing the status of young communities, and that they instruct the Civil Administration to move forward with authorizations.

“The window of opportunity is closing fast, and if the government does not take swift action, its delaying could condemn us to many more years of living in substandard conditions,” the Forum’s representative stated. “The Prime Minister must now display his initiative and decisiveness and bring this years-long saga to an end.”