Israel’s Ministry of the Interior and Israel Land Administration Agency, in cooperation with Regavim NGO and the Jewish National Fund (JNF), are demolishing 1,000 homes in the Negev every year under the pretext that they were built without a permit. This has been revealed by Amichai Yogev, the southern region director of Regavim, which was founded in 2006 in order to confiscate land and build settlements in the West Bank and the Negev Desert.
In an interview today with Jewish Voice, Yogev said that there are 220,000 Arabs in the Negev today and that they are living on 13,000 km2 of land. According to estimates, there are about 70,000 unlicensed homes in the “recognised” and “unrecognised” towns and villages. This means that these homes are at risk of being demolished at any moment, according to Regavim’s way of thinking.
Yogev also claimed that the Israeli NGO is frustrated by the current situation, as the Palestinian residents of the Negev build 2,000-3,000 homes a year in the unrecognised villages and gatherings. He added that despite their aggressive nature, the demolitions have less of an impact on the reality of the demographic spread that the Israeli establishment is seeking to reduce by means of these campaigns.
Asked what a village needs in order to be classified as “unrecognised”, Yogev said that all the villages located in the Beersheba-Arad-Yeruham triangle are “illegal” and therefore they may be destroyed and their residents expelled.
The indigenous people of the Negev describe Regavim NGO as a racist organisation. They say that most of its inspectors, who stick demolition notices on their homes, working with the so-called Israel Land Administration Agency, are settlers living in settlements located in the Negev near Mount Hebron.