"We must make this move for the state and the Negev residents, Jews and Bedouin as one," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet the Bedouin representatives sharply criticized the decision and called it a "declaration of war".
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The vote on the settlement outline, based on a socio-economic development plan in the sector's settlements was postponed early on Sunday after Shas party ministers and the Atzmaut faction demanded that the Prime Minister's Office present a binding legal opinion that would prevent the Bedouins from submitting future claims on additional land in the Negev.
Ultimately, the two parties opposed the vote as did Silvan Shalom, Gideon Sa'ar, Gilad Arden, Yisrael Katz and Limor Livnat.
The purpose of the reform is to provide a conclusive solution to the Bedouin communities' claims on lands in the Negev while proposing a comprehensive compromise that includes relocation and compensation to tens of thousands of Bedouins in a way that would bring about an end to illegal settlement in the Negev.
The report addresses ownership claims submitted by Bedouins between the years of 1971 and 1979 following the implementation of the northern Negev land settlement on lands still inhabited or farmed by the claimants.
A draft of the proposal received by Ynet shows that changes were included in the report to significantly reduce the extent of the land handed over to the Bedouins to 100,000 dunam (24,710 acres), on the assumption that all claimants can prove their rights to the land and accept the report outline.
Omri Ephraim contributed to the report
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