Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) responded Wednesday morning to the deadly terror attack in Umm Al-Hiran which left police officer Erez Levy dead and a second officer wounded.
“What happened in Hiran was a terror attack against the State of Israel,” said Ariel. “We won’t be deterred from enforcing law and order in the Bedouin sector, along with working to advance legal housing solutions.”
Ariel has been charged by the government with finding a solution to the problem of rampant illegal construction in the Bedouin sector and the existence of dozens of unauthorized settlements.
The Minister slammed the involvement of Arab MKs from the Joint List party and other outside elements who encouraged residents of Umm Al-Hiran to turn down alternative sites to build.
“The families in Hiran received an explicit order [to evacuate], and we offered them plots in [the Bedouin town of] Hura. They refused, even though we offered them prepared plots; they could have moved like dozens of other families who voluntarily dismantled [their illegal homes] and received from us plots and moved out ahead of [the eviction].”
Ariel noted that the residents’ case had been heard and rejected by both a district court and the Supreme Court.
“They’ve made these arguments in court, and even brought it to the district court and the Supreme Court,” said Ariel, adding that the appeals had been dismissed and the case closed.
“We offered the claimants alternative housing, we went beyond the letter of the law in order to reach an agreement. But those who think they can take advantage of that to steal state land – it won’t happen.”
Ariel called upon local leaders in the Bedouin sector not to inflame tensions following the attack and subsequent demolition in Umm Al-Hiran.