(January 19, 2022 / NEWSRAEL) The nascent Bedouin intifada unfolding in the Negev proves once again that violence and terrorism are not the results of marginalization, illiteracy and poverty, but stem from a new hope emerging and grows, and violence is the only way to achieve it. hope to materialize.
This violent protest is not the result of tree planting by the Jewish National Fund. The JNF has been planting trees in the Negev for many years and has never met with such opposition from Bedouins.
The reason is simple: the Bedouins living in these wild camps know very well that the land on which they live is not their property, but the property of the state.
The Bedouins tried for years to obtain legal recognition of land ownership, but repeatedly failed in all their trials, because state lands in the Negev (except for legally established towns) n have not undergone official division and registration, and therefore no one can legally buy, register or prove ownership.
What then drives the Bedouins to the current intifada? Hope.
Over the past two years, the Israeli political system has gone through a deep crisis. It projects weakness because the Jewish majority in Israel cannot agree to sit down together and form a coalition that will preserve the power of the Jewish majority.
The split to the right illustrates in the eyes of Arabs in general and Bedouins in particular, the weakness of the main players in the political arena. Netanyahu and Bennett, in turn, tried to seek help from the Islamic movement, a movement whose ideology claims that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state.
Over the past two years, many in the Arab sector have lived in hope that conflicts between Jews will continue to escalate and that the Jewish state will continue to deteriorate, losing its way, its power and its ability of survival. So its weakening can—inchallah– annul “the aggression of 1948” because they describe the establishment of Israel.
These same Arabs do not express this hope in words but in deeds:
1. The bloody jihad, riots and arson that swept through Lod, Ramla, Acre, Jaffa and Jerusalem in May 2021, without police intervention and without the vast majority of rioters being prosecuted.
2. Carry out the request of the Arabs to the police to confiscate the weapons of the Jews in the cities concerned.
3. Accumulation of huge quantities of weapons throughout the Arab sector.
4. The request for tens of billions of shekels in the budgets that the Ra’am party has received.
5. Success in blocking the citizenship law that restricts the import of women from the Palestinian Authority and more.
The “Electricity Law” enacted two weeks ago is seen in the Bedouin sector not just as legislation that would force the Israeli electricity company to supply electricity to houses built without permits, but as a a law which implicitly constitutes the recognition by the State of two important things: the right of the Bedouins to build houses on the territories which they seized illegally and the recognition of their ownership of the State lands of the Negev.
The Bedouins believe that by connecting their illegal homes to electricity they gain ownership of the vast areas they stole from the state, and now all they have to do is raise the rate of illegal construction on state land, so that each Bedouin child will own tens or even hundreds of acres. They hope this will legalize their claim to this land.
And now, after the hopes of the Bedouins to become owners of all the areas of the Negev that they occupied in the past and will occupy in the future have materialized, the state dares to plant trees on “their” ( !) land . Hence the Bedouin violence we have witnessed in recent days.
The ability of their party, Ra’am, to influence government decisions and to promote laws contrary to the interests of the Jewish majority, such as the “electricity law” with all its ramifications, increases their hope that the The state will soon be forced to recognize their status as legal owners in all areas of the Negev that they have taken possession of and plan to take over.
What the state must do quickly is nip this hope in the bud. The only way to eliminate it is with swift and decisive state action that will make it clear to the Bedouin who is boss here. The operation must include several elements:
- Immediate planting in all areas planned for planting now and in the future.
- Destruction of all homes built on state land without permits within one mile radius of any group of trees that will be planted.
- Administrative detention for all Bedouin agitators and their acolytes from the northern faction of the Islamic Movement, the Bnei Kfar movement and any other organization involved in what is happening in the south.
At the same time, the state must make it clear to Bedouins living near the Beersheva-Arad road that every electric pole knocked down on this road will lead to the demolition of 10 illegal houses (and there is not a single house legal) near the fallen post. In this way, the state will ensure that those who guard the pillars will be those who live there illegally.
The state must regain its deterrence in order to eliminate the hope that fuels the uprising. If, as a result, Ra’am withdraws from the coalition, the Likud, ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionist parties must immediately enter the government to salvage a wasteful election campaign. Then, if Meretz, Labor and Ra’am leave the coalition, it won’t matter.
Only a broad and stable right-wing coalition (a coalition that ignores, well, personal issues related to Netanyahu, Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman and Gideon Sa’ar) will be able to return the ownership of the state and its lands to the Jewish majority in Israel and make governance legal in the Negev.
At the same time, the state must make it very clear to Bedouins that:
1. You cannot continue to live by two sets of rules – those of the Bedouins and those of the state.
2. You cannot continue to build as you please on land that is not yours, while violating the State Planning and Building Law.
3. You cannot marry two, three, or four wives while violating the state polygamy ban law.
4. You cannot continue to live off smuggling, car theft and protection money, and at the same time receive social security as law-abiding citizens.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of the country – education, health and welfare – you must abandon the Bedouin way of life with all its criminal characteristics and adopt a modern way of life where you live only on the land you have purchased; marry only one wife; and work in respectful and honorable work.
The state will no longer tolerate the situation you created in the Negev, where you live in a system of norms practiced in the desert while the modern state funds your primitive way of life. You have to decide. If you choose to live in the desert, you can forget about social security and continue living in tents, as you won’t be allowed to build anything more permanent.
Such talk is contrary to the rules of political correctness, but in a crisis, the state has no choice but to be determined, clear and decisive. It is time to resolve, once and for all, the problem of the so-called “desert culture” which threatens the integrity and character of the State of Israel, since a Bedouin uprising could lead the instigators of the struggle to start riots in the north and the triangle, too.
If Israel succumbs to the demands of the Bedouins, it will continue to raise their hopes for the annihilation of the state. Israel must continue planting trees in the Negev. Otherwise, it will not exist there or anywhere else.
Mordechai Kedar is an Israeli scholar of Arabic culture, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and vice president of NEWSRAEL, where this article first appeared.