According to several unnamed senior government officials, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is pushing for regularization of illegal Bedouin settlements in the Negev as part of a deal arranged between him and the head of the Raam party, MK Mansour Abbas.
In return, the officials told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday, Netanyahu is said to be requiring that Raam either recommend him to form the next government after elections in the coming March, or at the very least, to refrain from recommending anyone else to form a government.
Netanyahu, apparently, expects ministers from the Blue & White party to accede to the regularization of Bedouin communities around the time of the coming elections, and is planning to pass the decision during the tenure of the interim government, the sources said, adding that Netanyahu may even raise the topic during today’s government session.
For his part, Defense Minister Benny Gantz intends to discuss the regularization of “young settlements” in today’s government session, and to announce that in return for regularizing the status of Bedouin communities, he is willing to consider providing assistance to outposts in providing them with electricity, water, and other humanitarian needs.
This news, if it is true, is likely to outrage settlement leaders who have been pushing for the regularization of dozens of "young settlements" - with no success - for some time already. It also comes close on the heels of an official report issued this week on the subject of regularization of illegal Arab construction, which noted that around 180,000 housing units have been granted legal status by the current government over the past two years alone.