The Struggle for the Negev

February 26, 2013 by  
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Ari Briggs – International Director of Regavim, an Israeli Non-Government Organization, and JNF Shaliach Ygal Shapir  have shared a platform at Sydney’s The Central Synagogue discussing good and bad news coming out of the Negev.

Ari Briggs and Ygal Shapir

Ari Briggs and Ygal Shapir

Briggs spoke of the illegal building being carried out by the Bedouin and Regavim’s successful efforts to prevent this happening by taking action in the Courts. He also pointed out a number of illegal Bedouin business activities that have also been stopped such as pirate gas stations.

Although there are Bedouin throughout the Middle East – the United Nations only labels those in Israel as indigenous.

Formed in 2006 Regavim’s growing successes have led to bitter attacks on it

by better funded and resourced pro-Arab NGO’s.

An emerging sense of lawlessness is prevalent in the Negev as the police, army and local authorities hesitate to take action to enforce court orders. Ari said extortion rackets, people smuggling and drug trafficking by the Beduin are rife as a result.

Briggs said Regavim’s main focus is to prevent the illegal commencement  of construction of new structures as soon as they come to Regavim’s attention.

The former Sydneysider is speaking in Melbourne today and at Sydney’s South Head Synagogue on Wednesday.

Shapir spoke of the JNF’s work in the Negev on land forming part of a Government master plan.

Reservoirs, parks and forests are being built for the benefit and enjoyment of all the inhabitants of the Negev. Reclamation to develop new agricultural and farming infrastructure is also occurring. Recreation, bicycling tracks and nature sites are used by all.

Assisting in the resettlement of Gush Khatif communities also features highly on JNF priorities.

According to Briggs  – three sisters of Gaza Prime Minister Haniyeh live in the Negev.

The evening was held under the auspices of Australians For A Secure Israel (AFASI)

Comments

11 Responses to “The Struggle for the Negev”
  1. LIZZIE says:

    Todah rabah Mr Solomon, for one heck of an eye opening description. My grandmother’s youngest brother is buried at Beersheva and so I have been interested in the Negev since I was quite young. Its not a topic one has seen much about, in the past, in Australia.

    • Gil Solomon says:

      Lizzie,

      Then there’s the added problem that I didn’t refer to in my original comments and that is of the ongoing theft of highway signage, massive smuggling and human trafficking going on in these Bedouin villages. All this is well known to Israeli authorities who keep looking the other way.

      These people are a law unto themselves. No other country on the face of the earth would put up with this. On the contrary there would be a massive crackdown from day one.

  2. Shirlee says:

    Well said Gil. It’s taken a while but the word is getting out now.

    Can I please suggest you check out their web site.

    http://www.regavim.org.il/en/

    They are also on Facebook and Youtube

    • Gil Solomon says:

      Shirlee,

      Then there’s the added problem that I didn’t refer to in my original comments and that is of the ongoing theft of highway signage, massive smuggling and human trafficking going on in these Bedouin villages. All this is well known to Israeli authorities who keep looking the other way.

      These people are a law unto themselves. No other country on the face of the earth would put up with this. On the contrary there would be a massive crackdown from day one.

      • Shirlee says:

        Gil, I know that. I have been involved in one way or another with Regavim for over a year.

        If you go to the website http://www.regavim.org.il/en/
        Click on the link, then News & Media, you will see a link to Videos. There are some very interesting ones.

        Last year I went into Judea and Samaria with Ari and saw for myself the destruction of the ancient terraces by Arabs dumping rubbish. It’s tragic that they cause this damage to what were designed in ancient times to stop soil erosion.
        http://daphneanson.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/sydneysiders-visit-to-west-bank.html

      • Shirlee says:

        Gil, I was at Central shul on Monday night and I have been involved in one way or another with Regavim for way over a year now.

        Last year I went with Ari into Judea and Samaria and saw for myself the way the Arabs are destroying the ancient terraces with the dumping of rubbish down the hill sides. It’s a crime. The terraces were built to stop soil erosion and the destruction of the land. So clear to see they have respect for that land.
        http://daphneanson.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/sydneysiders-visit-to-west-bank.html

        Look at the website I posted on my first post. On the top bar there is a link “NEWS AND MEDIA” and a drop down menu ‘VIDEOS’ being the bottom one. You’ll find some good information there.

        • LIZZIE says:

          “Last year I went with Ari into Judea and Samaria and saw for myself the way the Arabs are destroying the ancient terraces with the dumping of rubbish down the hill sides. It’s a crime. The terraces were built to stop soil erosion and the destruction of the land. So clear to see they have [no] respect for that land.”

          This is just so horrifying. It just makes you feel sick!

      • LIZZIE says:

        Well, quite evidently the State of Israel in its Negev manifestation, is going to have to quit looking the other way or it shall be destructive of an important part of Israel through “merely sitting on its hands.” Y’know there is a perception internationally, of Israelis being such ‘can do people’ and so tech advanced – so one thinks, ‘how can this be happening?!”

        Truly a situation which warrants fighting on, in the best Israeli tradition, while remembering the first kibbutzniks clearing the swamps back in the 1920s or 30s – who fought on and on, even tho more than a third could be in bed with malaria at any one time. Then when they had achieved 600 wonderful acres, the Bedou came with rifles, demanding they hand it over. How much has changed, one has to wonder, in the Bedou mentality?

        • Gil Solomon says:

          Nothing has really changed in the Bedouin mentality. What has changed is the Israeli mentality where they have lost the political will to do what is right and desperately needs to be done. Israel’s Hasbara efforts are hopeless and as a consequence they are now under assault from both within and without on every issue. These are dire times. The country is in need of real leadership.

          • LIZZIE says:

            What can one say to this? How dreadful! Evidently, its time for the power of serious prayer.

            The fact that Israel is very much an immigrant country and taking in further immigrants all the time….the constant state of flux as Israel accommodates new people, plus has to cope with the innumerable demands of Western countries re its government policies and its future. Does all of this has a diversionary effect do you think, so that critical issues tend not to be consistently focused on? I know that if I’m working on research and a major paper, rather a lot of stuff gets shunted to the side.

            Israel always has a huge amount to cope with. One hears of Israel being” a little Western country plonked down next to a sea of 70 million Arabs” – yet how like a Western country is Israel really? Given its weekly struggles, one has to truly wonder!!

  3. Gil Solomon says:

    The talk on Monday night was an eye opener for anyone wanting to know what is going on in the Negev and what exactly Regavim is up against.

    For Israel to have allowed Bedouin squatters to build on privately owned or State land in the Negev over the last few decades is appalling. It indicates to me a country with no political will to stand up to hostile NGOs, the UN and foreign Governments and is not willing to exercise its fundamental responsibility of sovereignty. The arguments put up by the Government that it’s a young country and has more important issues to deal with etc. etc. are to me a nonsense. It seems more that the Government finds Regavim just a nuisance in the headlong drive to give the Bedouin what they want.

    How more times does Regavim have to go to the Supreme Court and show that the Bedouin have no case, period? For Regavim to have to fight by taking the Israeli Govt. to court to enforce its own laws in order to keep Jewish lands in Jewish hands, is appalling.

    It seems that Israeli law doesn’t apply where Bedouin squatters are concerned. The fact that they once roamed around the Middle East tending their flocks does not prove ownership and for Israel to have succumbed to pressure from wherever to, in many cases allow them to register vacant land in the land Registry as privately owned is appalling. What a precedent!

    I have learned that there are now about 140 cases tied up in litigation and in spite of Regavim having success of late, in practical terms not one illegally constructed village has ever been torn down. The best they can hope for is that another new structure does not go up within the village in question. Then there’s the insanity of the Israeli Govt. wanting to buy out these villages and construct something else for them somewhere else!

    In my mind, this mess comes down to the fact that Israel does not behave like a sovereign nation in control of its own affairs. It allows traitors within and foreigners inside and out of Israel to raise funds, spread propaganda and interfere in its internal affairs, be it the peace process or whatever. The country of Israel (I refuse to use that useless term “State” of Israel), because of its actions simply has no real respect from any source. What other country would allow UN interference to the extent that it is silent when confronted with the bogus claim by that organisation that the Bedouin are indigenous to this one area of the Middle East? We in the diaspora can only shake our heads in amazement at Israel’s actions and lack of any effective Hasbara.

    Finally with the construction of these illegal Bedouin villages, one can only wonder what damage has been done to the underground water aquifers over the decades.

    Regavim’s actions are a long needed start and I hope that things will turn around in the future and that they have every success going forward.

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