United Arab List (Ra'am) chairman Mansour Abbas announced Tuesday that he would stop voting with the coalition in response to the planting of trees by the Jewish National Fund in the Negev.
The Ra'am party is demanding a freeze on the Jewish National Fund's planting operation in the Mulada area. During planting efforts today, 18 Bedouin rioters were arrested for throwing stones at police.
“I can’t continue to live with this,” Abbas told Channel 12 News. “I can’t continue like this, I have absorbed more difficult things in the past, but when they shoot straight in my chest I can’t stand it anymore. The south is Ra’am."
Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan (Meretz) visited the protest encampment in Mulada this evening. "I then spoke with my friends, Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Minister Meir Cohen, Deputy Minister Yoav Saglovitz, and Ra'am chairman Mansour Abbas. I call for the release of the detainees, for the planting to stop, and for all parties to sit at the negotiating table and calm the storm for the future of the Negev," said Golan.
Members of the Likud party visited the planting site Tuesday afternoon at the invitation of Israel Goldstein, chairperson of the KKL-JNF's Worker's union.
MK Amir Ohana said that, "What was supposed to be a routine event - planting in the run-up to Tu B'Shvat - has become under the Islamic Movement's government a controversial event that requires significant deployment by security forces.
"Deepening our roots in the Land of Israel in general, and in the Negev in particular, is our message, and this clearly opposes what the Islamic Movement stands for as it seeks to deprive the Jewish people of their lands by severing the connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel," Ohana said.
MK Kathrin Shitrit added: "Giving in to demands just whets their appetite for more. Following the Electricity Law, Ra'am is now demanding that the JNF's planting on state lands be halted. This is what extortion by threats looks like."