Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said yesterday the dream of the country's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to occupy the Negev and Galilee "has not ended", calling to continue settlement activities in those regions.
Speaking at a conference held by Globes economic magazine, Shaked said Tel Aviv's policy and interests reinforce the need to continue settlement operations in the Galilee and the Negev, by building new cities and towns.
"In Dimona alone, 3,000 new apartments were immediately sold out. If you do not know what is happening in Galilee and the Negev, then you should know that the state has an interest in establishing new settlements… We did not finish the realisation of Ben-Gurion's dream in the Negev," she added.
"The state has an interest in settling in the Negev and controlling the lands. The Negev is not very densely populated and there is a lot to do," she added.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb for the 196th time since 2010.
Located in the Negev (Naqab) desert, the village is one of 51 "unrecognised" Arab villages in the area and is constantly targeted for demolition ahead of plans to Judaise the Negev by building homes for new Jewish communities. Israeli bulldozers, which Bedouins are charged for, demolish everything, from the trees to the water tanks, but Bedouin residents have tried to rebuild it every time.
Bedouin in the Negev must abide by the same laws as Jewish Israeli citizens. They pay taxes but do not enjoy the same rights and services as Jews in Israel and the state has repeatedly refused to connect the towns to the national grid, water supplies, and other vital amenities.