Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman harshly criticized the "day of rage" protests being held against the Bedouin resettlement plan across the country. "Nothing has changed since the Tower and Stockade days. We are fighting for the lands of the Jewish people and there are those who intentionally try to rob and seize them," Lieberman said in a Facebook post.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav denounced the violent protest in the city. Protest is a democratic duty, he said, "but the violence we saw today does not come from Haifa and has no place in a city that has known peace among all parts of society for 110 years."
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Liberman added that "one doesn't have to be an expert on geography or demographics to understand that the situation there (in the Negev) is a catastrophe. It's our duty to stop the situation where some citizens abide by the planning and construction laws and some dismiss and evade them through violence. It's not a social problem, or housing crisis, it's a fight for land, ever since the 19th century."
Lieberman said that the government cannot shut its eyes in the face of the problem and must address it. "There's no reason why multi-story buildings will not be built in Umm al-Fahm as they are in Beirut, Cairo and Gaza. The government must build modern cities for the Arab population, with infrastructure and permits. Building permits isn't for Jews only."
He noted that he was initially against the Prawer plan and only supported it once Minister Benny Begin said the Bedouins had consented. He is now calling for a reevaluation of the plan and a withdrawal of its benefits for Bedouins. "If there is no full agreement – there are no benefits."
Moran Azulay Ahiya Raved contributed to this report
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