Liberman and Bennett Unite to Torpedo Prawer Plan
Knesset parties Yisrael-Beytenu and Jewish Home recently agreed to act together to torpedo the "Prawer-Begin Plan," which seeks to organize Bedouin settlement in the Negev. The parties charge that relevant information has been hidden from MKs in the debates.
The plan gives Negev Bedouin 180,000 dunams (45,000 acres) of state land for free, additionally granting them "compensation" for the state land many Bedouin are currently squatting on. Arab and left-wing opposition to the bill focuses on it moving 30,000-40,000 Bedouins from illegal outposts and villages, and demolishing 40 illegal settlements.
According to Ma'ariv, the agreement was welcomed by party leaders Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael-Beytenu) and Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home).
On Wednesday MK Zevulun Kalfa, one of the agreement's initiators, sent a letter to Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein asking for the freeze of debates around the law.
"It is unthinkable that a debate so important and strategic on such a national issue is being held, and Committee members discussing the law are not revealing (and are perhaps knowingly departmentalizing) all of the relevant information related to the law," wrote Kalfa.
The agreement between the two parties, on the heels of moves against the Prawer Plan from the Opposition, could signal the death blow of the bill which has been termed in Knesset "Benny Begin's personal project."
The Prawer Plan has elicited extreme responses. On last Saturday Arabs, and particularly Bedouin, throughout Israel protested the bill in a "Day of Rage" that left at least 15 police injured and 28 arrested. 11 were later indicted by the prosecutor's office.
Furthermore, 4 Arab MKs have sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Israel this week, petitioning him to pressure Israel into stopping the Prawer Plan.
In response to the "Day of Rage," Liberman called the riots "serious albeit expected," and argued for reconsidering the Plan.
Liberman said the Bedouin are just interested in getting benefits from the Plan without any obligations, and "therefore, it is imperative to examine all of the plan anew and to weigh a plan with far-reaching consequences that will also cancel the benefits the Bedouin were supposed to receive. If there is no full agreement, there are no benefits."
Jewish Home also reacted to the riots, releasing a statement saying "weakness leads to violence," and noted the "Palestinian flags that were waved in Haifa, Jerusalem, the Negev and the Galilee" were the "promo" for the Palestinians' "real plan" to rule not only Judea and Samaria but all parts of the country.