Bedouin throw stones at police
Bedouin throw stones at police DAVID BUIMOVITCH/FLASH90

Against the backdrop of recent rioting in the Negev and the attack by Bedouin on police forces and inspectors at the IDF’s Tze’elim Base this morning, Regavim warns that the new five-year plan for the Negev, which the government is expected to approve, contains no budgeting for law enforcement and will cause long-term damage to the already-dire state of governance in the Negev.

Bedouin lawbreakers herding flocks of thousands of sheep, invaded the IDF Tze'elim Base this morning (Monday), leading to a confrontation with the Israel Police and the Green Patrol who were called out to remove the intruders from the IDF’s live-ammunition training area.

The intruders called in backup of their own – Bedouin residents of the Bir Hadaj squatters’ camp – who stoned the police officers, faced off with the enforcement patrol, and attempted to run over one of the inspectors.

As this scene was unfolding, a different face-off was taking place in the Knesset, where ministers were embroiled in a tug-of-war over the government’s new five-year plan for the Negev. Over the past several weeks, the previous five-year plan (2397), a NIS 3 Billion package that included NIS 200 million for forestation, land protection and law enforcement, ran its course. The new plan, which the government is scheduled to debate and approve this week, does not include one single Shekel for these crucial projects: The chapter on enforcement was simply cut out of the draft legislation.

Regavim warns that approval of this plan in its present form – which includes funding for Bedouin municipalities but is completely devoid of any allocation of resources for enforcement authorities – will cause long-term damage to the state of governance in the Negev.

Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim, notes that “increased enforcement activity in the Negev over the past year is the result of government decisions and budgetary allocations legislated in 2017. As it now reads, the new Negev Five-Year Plan will cut the oxygen supply for enforcement, and the results will be felt over the coming years. Under no condition should this plan be approved; all ‘carrots’ and no ‘sticks’ is not a plan, it’s a recipe for disaster.”