Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir/TPS
Illegal Bedouin village Khan el Akhmar, near Jerusalem. Jan 10, 2016.

Bedouin tribes living between the three cities of Beersheba, Dimona, and Arad in the south of Israel have been spreading out and invading into new areas throughout the Negev in recent years, the Regavim movement has discovered.

A new Bedouin outpost was recently established at the entrance to the city of Arad and eastward towards Masada and the Dead Sea, which includes 17 illegal structures.

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The Regavim movement, which closely monitors illegal construction in the Negev, revealed that the volume of illegal Bedouin construction northeast of the city of Arad has risen by about 1,200% in recent years.

In 2005, 78 illegal structures were counted in the area, and in 2010, 97 structures were documented. In the following years, the scope of illegal construction skyrocketed, with 511 buildings counted in 2015, and 961 illegal buildings on the site in 2020.

The Regavim movement appealed to the National Unit for the Enforcement of Planning and Building Laws and the environmental Green Patrol to demand that supervision and enforcement procedures are taken against the new cluster of huts near Masada and to restore the situation to its former state. The enforcement unit said the issue was under investigation and the Green Patrol had not yet responded to their request, although a month had passed since the referral was received.

Evyatar David, the coordinator of activities in the Negev for Regavim, explained that “the accelerated expansion of the Bedouins in recent years must light a red and prominent warning light among all state authorities and no less among the citizens – especially now – on the eve of the Knesset elections.”

David demanded that the state “stop the construction of the new clusters now and bring the residents into the permanent settlements with infrastructure, electricity, roads and educational institutions. If it does not do so, in a few years when it remembers that these lands belong to it, it may be too late.”

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TPS - The Tazpit News Agency provides news from Israel.