(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Interior Committee discussion on the establishment of new Jewish settlements
in the Negev abruptly ended on Tuesday after Balad MK Jamal Zahalka threw
insults at the chairman and refused to leave when requested to do so.
Zvulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi), who ran the meeting instead of MK Miri Regev
(Likud), decided to end the session after Zahalka called him a “fascist racist”
and refused his order to leave the room.
The discussion was requested by
Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg and Hadash MK Dov Henin.
They were to discuss
the establishment of five new Jewish settlements in the Negev between Beersheba
Zandberg argued that the new settlements might damage
existing communities and harm the landscape and environment.
from the Ministry of Construction and Housing, said that no decision has yet
been made but that they have located a few areas that will not harm the
Zahalka raised the issue of the Prawer-Begin Beduin
resettlement bill that is being debated by the same committee.
Jewish community leaders are fighting against the Arabs, telling them there is
no country for you – no citizenship, you fascist racist,” shouted
“You are destroying the Beduin settlements from the map,” he
Kalfa ended the discussion and afterwards said, “MKs may not use
their right to speak in a distorted and false way.”
“There is an
honorable way to have a discussion in the Knesset committees and this is not the
way,” he said.
The Prawer-Begin bill is a five-year economic development
initiative seeking to regulate Beduin settlement in the South. It aims for a
compromised solution for tens of thousands of Beduins currently scattered in
unrecognized villages throughout the Negev, legalizing 63 percent of claimed
Beduin supporters oppose the bill because they say the legislation
would result in up to 40,000 Beduins losing their land.
Opponents on the
Right criticize the bill as being too generous, saying that the state is giving
away land for free, land that the Beduin could not prove to be theirs in court.