Paz-Pines slams government for abandoning Beduins near Ramat Hovav

Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee Chair Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) slammed the government on Sunday for deciding to oppose his and Yossi Beilin's (Meretz) bill to prohibit people from living within five kilometers of the Ramat Hovav Industrial Park. The bill would also require the government to either relocate residents to an alternate site or provide compensation for them to move themselves. "The decision [not to support the bill] abandons the health of Ramat Hovav residents," he said, "A hazardous material spill with civilian casualties is now just a matter of time." The Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided Sunday they would oppose the bill, despite a unequivocal recommendation from the Environmental Protection Ministry that all residents should be relocated immediately. The recommendation came as part of a report earlier this month into a leak at the Machteshim factory in April, which the investigative committee found could have been prevented if the factory had followed proper procedure.