Politics

In wake of deadly attack, Israel must regain sovereignty over the Negev


Mohammad Abu al-Kian who killed four in a stabbing attack in Be’er Sheva on Tuesday acted alone and was not helped by a terror infrastructure, at least according to the preliminary police probe. His killing spree was carried out with only a knife.

According to the Shin Bet, there was no indication in advance that Abu al-Kian had planned to carry out such a horrific act of terror.

Still, the security agencies must probe the risk that the former security prisoner, indicted for affiliation with the Islamic State, had posed. They must also consider expanding the areas considered to be prone to violence, beyond Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Shin Bet officials said their evaluation of the man had indicated he had distanced himself from the extreme positions he had previously held. In their last review, they found no indications he had intended to carry out such a deadly assault.

But the story of southern Israel is greater than one man’s murderous killing spree. It is further proof that Israel has lost its sovereignty over the Negev.

Political pundits wasted no time on Tuesday to point fingers at their opponents, blaming them for the violence of Bedouin crime gangs. But the truth must be told. The Negev had been ignored long before the current government came into power.

4 צפייה בגלריה

הפרות הסדר וההפגנה בנגבהפרות הסדר וההפגנה בנגב

Bedouins demonstrating the government’s use of what they claim is their land in the Negev last January

(Photo: Reuters)

Residents of the south have for awhile felt a declining sense of security and a rise in violent crime, which peaked last May during the operation in the Gaza Strip and tensions over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, when rioting broke out in mixed – Jewish and Arab – areas.

Rioting and violent attacks perpetuated by Bedouins included stone throwing, the blocking of main roads and a general rise in crime, such as theft.

The May riots and the consequent violence were a wake-up call, which showed that too little was done to eliminate terror, violence and criminality in Israel’s Arab sector in general, and among Bedouins in particular.

One needs only to see the social media posts of that time and listen to Israelis living in Be’er Sheva to realize just how fearful the residents of the south are.

For the government to regain its sovereignty in the south, the police must increase its presence there, call in Border Police reserves and exhibit a show of force in order to give citizens back a sense of security.

That is the responsibility of the entire government, which has failed to even allot a sufficient budget to deploy enough forces to the area.

The police must eradicate the causes of terror and criminal violence, it must prevent the use of illegally obtained weapons and must cooperate with the IDF to achieve that goal.

According to officials, drug smuggling across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders by Bedouin crime gangs yielded NIS 4 billion two years ago and NIS 1.4 billion this year.

Contrary to some reports, the source of weapons used by criminals was no longer theft from IDF bases. This year only four such incidents were reported, as opposed to 80 in the past couple of years.

The IDF stepped up to the challenge and was more successful in preventing such thefts.

Most weapons arrive from across the borders. Last Friday, 34 guns brought in from Jordan were seized from smugglers and the IDF estimates at least 1,000 guns have been smuggled into the country recently to be used in acts of terror in the West Bank and criminal activity in the Bedouin sector.

Tuesday’s terror attack cannot be explained by proximity to the holy month of Ramadan, which has not even began but is also expected to yield violence.

Security forces must prepare for an outbreak of violence, increase their alert level and beef up their forces.

They must prepare for copycat attacks egged on by the “success” of Abu al-Kian’s killing spree.

But most importantly, police and the government must see the security challenges of the south clearly regardless of political affiliations.





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