Protesters, students settle dispute over cameras

Statement by leaders of social protest calls off their demand for cameras to be present during any negotiations with Netanyahu.

Tent City 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tent City 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Leaders of the tent city social protest movement announced on Monday that they have nixed their demand for cameras to be present during any negotiations to be held with the prime minister, following a dispute with the National Student Union over the issue.
“The headquarters of the tent city protests admits that it made a mistake by demanding that cameras be present during the dialogue with the prime minister. The student union managed to convince us that the central precondition for holding talks will be the cancellation of the National Housing Committees law.”
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The statement ended: “We are a broad movement and we will not be defeated by any single person or any amount of spin.”
The joint announcement was issued by the protest movement and the student union on Wednesday afternoon after the media widely reported tension between the union and tent city protest leaders.
Earlier in the day, the protest headquarters on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard issued a statement saying “our demand for cameras to be present during dialogue with the prime minister isn’t for the sake of media coverage of the event, rather because of the public’s need for there to be transparency and out of understandable fear of secret nighttime deals made between different officials.”
The Student Union said that “the demand to affix cameras is not rational and will be disrespectful to anyone sent by the government [without any connection to the Right or the Left] and will end any attempt at future dialogue that could possibly reach solutions [on housing, education, welfare, etc.]” With the camera requirement now out of the way, the only prerequisite issued by the protest organizers is the cancellation of a vote planned for Wednesday on the National Housing Committees Bill. The measure is meant to streamline housing construction by having a National Housing Subcommittee discuss housing plans. The subcommittee would have seven members, including representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Interior Ministry.
The committees would have full authority to approve housing plans.
Critics of the plan say it would be used to give a green light to privatize state land for wealthy developers to build luxury projects, and wouldn’t address the housing shortage.
Protesters said last week that if the vote on the law is not canceled, they would march to the Knesset and hold a mass protest, with the goal of disrupting the vote.