The government on Sunday approved the transfer of responsibility for egulating illegal settlement of Bedouin in the Negev to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, headed by Ya'ir Shamir (Yisrael Beytenu). Working together to develop solutions with Shamir will be Rami Cohen, the ministry's chief executive officer.
The Prime Minister's Office - which currently heads the efforts - said,Thursday evening, that the goal is to give Shamir all the tools available to advance resolution of the matter. In its decision Sunday, the government said that Shamir would develop a new, comprehensive plan to resolve the issue of illegal Bedouin settlements.
The new plan would replace the Prawer plan, which proposed to move illegal Bedouin squatters who had occupied state lands onto plots of their own, which they would be given gratis. The plan would have given 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. The plan was dropped over Arab and left-wing opposition to the bill.
Commenting on the decision, Shamir said that “the complicated situation on the ground requires fundamental decisions to ensure that the Negev develops properly. We will continue with the legislative process in order to arrive at wide-ranging resolutions of the matter with all Knesset factions, and in cooperation with the Bedouin.”