Vote on Bedouin housing postponed - Israel News, Ynetnews

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Bedouin tent Photo: Ilana Curiel
Bedouin tent Photo: Ilana Curiel

Vote on Bedouin housing postponed

Prime Minister's Office caves into political pressure, defers vote on Bedouin settlement plan in Negev

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 06.01.11, 00:45 / Israel News

The Prime Minister's Office has decided to postpone the presentation of a report reviewing the status of Bedouin settlements in the Negev, as well as the subsequent government vote on its conclusions, Ynet learned Tuesday.


The decision followed what was described as extensive pressure by the various parties, most notably over the report's recommendation to allot Bedouins in the Negev hundreds of thousands of acres of land, in favor of future towns.



Both the Right and the Left have reportedly claimed that the Bedouins' persistent refusal to settle in regulated townships – as offered by various governments over decades – has rendered them ineligible to receive the scopes of land recommended in the report.


The Bedouin settlement plan, put together by a special unit in the Prime Minister's Office, aims to regulate the land issue, and prevent Bedouin tribes from illegally squatting across the Negev.


The plan offers the community large expanses of land, as well as upgraded infrastructure and State funding for construction.


Eyal Gabai, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, said that "there is a sense of urgency here. The situation, as it stands today, is not doing anyone any good. The State must find an applicable solution and the government must vote on it.


"Both a plan and the government's desire to see it through exist… We are willing to listen to the critics, but at the end of the day we have to do what's right for the Negev. The Bedouins are not going anywhere. We have to find the proper solution."



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