The Negev desert is home to some 300,000 Bedouins, who reside in 2,000 villages, with up to 40 percent them being illegal settlements. As a result, they have little to no access to services provided by Israel, creating frustration that is now spilling over into incidents of violence.
Known for its impressive landscapes, numerous tourist attractions, and sensitive ecosystems, the Negev desert in the south of israel occupies 60 percent of the country’s territory.
But Naomi Linder Kahn, director of the International Division at Regavim, an NGO that aims to protect Israel’s resources, says her country might “soon lose control over the area”. And the reason for this is the desert’s unstable security situation.
Right now, the area is home to slightly more than 1.13 million people, making up some 12 percent of Israel’s total population. Around 300,000 of them are Bedouins that reside in 2,000 mostly illegal clusters and although the majority are peaceful citizens, a minority presents a headache to the Jewish state.
Over the past several months, the Israeli media has documented multiple instances of crime in the area. Bedouins were seen breaking into private houses and military bases to steal equipment. They were accused of distributing drugs and trading in illicit weapons, while the Israeli authorities were rubbing their heads struggling to cope with the situation.
In May, the already dire security situation started to spiral out of control, with dozens of…