The government can turn the situation in the Negev around – by enacting five practical recommendations that arise from the State Comptroller's in-depth and comprehensive report published today. Let's discuss the second:
2. No more legalizing "new" communities!
The State Comptroller’s findings support what the Regavim movement has been explaining for years: The rural communities of the Neveh Midbar and Al Kasum Regional Councils are nothing more than a fiction, and both the state and the residents are paying a very high price to support this fiction.
These communities were created by simply drawing “blue lines” (jurisdictional boundaries) around clusters of illegal structures, redefining them as legal communities and creating a jurisdictional umbrella, without any prior urban planning or infrastructure, in an attempt to take retroactive action against the facts on the ground created by rampant illegal construction.
This 'legalization' method has been an abject failure, as these local authorities and the Bedouin Regulation Authority are forced to deal with the near impossibility of providing infrastructure for unplanned “communities” – including paved roads, electricity, water, and sewage infrastructure.
The non-solution: This “legalization” method entrenches and exacerbates the problems of illegal construction, massive loss of state land, and inadequate solutions for the Bedouin citizens living in these communities. Yet the extortionist demands by the Ra'am Party in the current government coalition seek to continue this destructive practice, through the “recognition” of new settlements and expansion of “communities” in these municipalities to include additional squatters’ camps and “whitewash” them.
The State Comptroller’s report leaves no room for doubt: This will make an already bad situation even worse and will replicate the failed model of Neveh Midbar and Al Kasum.