One of the most prominent right-wing Israeli NGOs, Regavim, has received “millions of shekels of public funds”, an investigation by Israeli newspaper Haaretz has uncovered.
Regavim focuses on so-called ‘illegal’ construction by Palestinians both in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and inside the Green Line, focusing on “court petitions against the authorities”.
Palestinians under military rule, as well as Palestinian citizens, face systematic discrimination in planning and construction policy, so that permission to build ‘legally’ is difficult or impossible to obtain. Regavim is “leading the legal battle” to have Palestinian village Susiya demolished.
Funds received by Regavim have included cases where criteria where specifically “tailored” for the NGO, noting that “although the group declared it had received funds from one regional council, it actually got large budgets from at least two additional regional councils”.
“Over the years”, therefore, “the data shows that the state and its authorities have been substantially supporting one of the main players conducting legal action against it”.
The article notes that Regavim has received funding from the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council (“to preserve national lands”), as well as the Samaria and South Hebron Hills regional councils.
Haaretz notes that though “Regavim gets money from regional [settler] councils in the West Bank”, that “doesn’t mean only settlers are paying it”; these “regional councils get tens of millions of shekels in state funding, so Regavim is actually being funded by all taxpayers”.
In 2012, “the Galilee Development Authority also began channelling funds to Regavim for “strengthening inspection and enforcement in open areas, supporting the activities of the various enforcement authorities, compiling land information to create an updated land status picture at any given time as a systemic tool for developing the Galilee”. “The authority had allocated hundreds of thousands of shekels for mapping open areas and ‘communities in non-Jewish society’, but it isn’t clear if Regavim got all that money or just some of it”, Haaretz reports.