Latest update: February 10th, 2013
On Thursday, the Regavim NGO appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court to try to stop the implementation of Beni Begin’s hastily passed plan to transfer 220,000 dunams (54,000 acres) of Negev land to the Bedouin.
But facts on the ground, may have done two-thirds of the work for Regavim.
According to a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon, in their rush to pass the bill, the government never took upon itself to do the basic due diligence that such a serious bill requires.
It turns out that from the 220,000 dunams, 30% belongs to the Electric Company, Bezeq, and Mekorot and is used for their infrastructure, the rest of that 30% includes roads, and the planned train route. Much of that land is also not stable enough for building buildings on it.
Another 80,000 dunam are owned by the IDF, which has army bases located on it, including the famous Tze’elim training base and the infantry school in Yerucham. With the current plan to move many of the army bases in the center of the country down south to the Negev, as well as the lack of large training areas outside of the Negev, it’s unlike these bases will be moving to accommodate the Bedouin.
Another 10,000 dunam are owned, title and all, by Jews (who bought the land, unlike the Bedouin who are squatting on it), on which the Ministry of Building and Construction already has planned to build a new Jewish settlement.
And then, there is also an airfield in that area, and the law forbids housing construction near any airfields.
At best, there’s only 85,000 dunams (21,000 acres) available to implement Beni Begins Bedouin land grab plan from the 220,000 in the original plan.
It’s not clear how this deficit will affect the plan, but it is clear that Beni Begin didn’t do his homework.
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