Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel decided to temporarily withdraw the Prawer bill to expel Negev Arab-Bedouin from discussion in the Knesset on Sunday, July 12. Mass protests, some violent, took place across the country against the controversial bill in 2013.
“In the future, I will hold extensive public hearings with all parties in order to form a proper plan that will end the current situation,” said Ariel, adding that after that “we will continue to promote the law.” In response to Ariel’s decision, the Joint List said that Netanyahu should not stop with freezing the Prawer bill, but entirely throw it out and start over by initiating a new dialogue with the Arab public.
On Saturday night, July 11, the Joint List issued an urgent statement demanding from the prime minister to cancel the bill which would authorize the state to massively confiscate land from Arab-Bedouin in the Negev. The statement by the Arab-Jewish parliamentary faction indicated that passage of the bill would “be considered by us as a declaration of war on Arab society and will lead to unprecedented popular resistance.”
The statement by the Joint List emphasized that any imposed action should be avoided. “The Arab citizens of the Negev have prepared and submitted an alternative plan which includes conditions conforming to district and national planning, but the state institutions totally ignored it… The time has come for the state to change its hostile approach toward Arab citizens in general and those living in the Negev in particular, one which sees them as invaders and the enemy, and begin instituting different policies.”
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