Bedouin’s guide to the Negev: How to make a fortune at the State’s expense

“Meet Abed. Abed is an 18-year-old Bedouin who lives in an ‘unrecognized’ squatters’ camp in the Negev.

He’s a spontaneous, sensitive guy – and he’s nobody’s fool.”

Regavim’s video illustrates why, despite the state’s efforts to create legal, organized communities for Israeli Bedouin, complete with municipal infrastructure and modern services, these attempts have failed over and over again. What’s the bottom line? Who are the winners, who are the losers, and what are the consequences for the future of the Negev and the State of Israel?

The illegal Bedouin hinterland in the Negev is comprised of tens of thousands of illegal structures, and the State of Israel has been dragging its feet for years in a series of failed initiatives aimed at relocating the Bedouin to permanent, legal, organized settlements.

To encourage and enable the residents of the illegal encampments to relocate to organized towns with proper infrastructure, municipal services, education and health care facilities, the state provides each resident of the illegal encampments with a free, developed plot of land and a “relocation compensation payment” of hundreds of thousands of shekels – but because there are no timetables or deadlines attached to these generous relocation arrangements, the system simply doesn’t work; the illegal encampments continue to grow, with thousands of new structures each year.

The video illustrates how the state has continued to increase and enlarge its compensation and relocation grants over the years, in practice encouraging residents of the illegal encampments to stay put, continue to build illegally, and ‘make a buck’ at the public’s expense.

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