Ra'am chairman Mansour Abbas on Tuesday evening blasted opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu amid Ra'am's demand to stop the JNF planting of trees in Bedouin villages in the south.
"Abu Yair, not only did you agree to stop planting in the Negev, but you also agreed to recognize the three communities in the Negev and also agreed to my request, at one of the meetings in Balfour, to postpone the evacuation of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. MK Netanyahu – take a deep breath, internalize this and maybe move forward," said Abbas.
The remarks by the chairman of Ra'am followed criticism from Netanyahu, who said that "no one will stop planting trees in the Land of Israel. I give full backing to the security forces and demand that Bennett immediately condemn the incitement of Ra'am, his senior partner in the government."
Abbas announced earlier on Tuesday that he will stop voting with the coalition until further notice. Ra’am is demanding a freeze of the Jewish National Fund's planting operation in the Mulada area in the south of the country. During the planting on Tuesday, 18 Bedouin who rioted and threw rocks at police officers were arrested.
Foreign Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called for a halt to the tree planting, as Netanyahu did in his previous government.
"12 years of abandoning the Negev and neglecting the Bedouin problem will not be solved in one day. The State of Israel should plant trees on state lands, but must not harm the livelihoods of the area's residents. Just as the Netanyahu government stopped planting in 2020, it is possible to stop it now as well and reorganize. The government of change is committed to solving the Bedouin problem and bringing about settlement in the Negev," Lapid said.