Ra’am party lawmakers said Monday they won’t balk at initiating coalition crises to get what they want. This news came about a day after the Islamist party briefly threatened to suspend work with the coalition.
Sunday saw ministers vote to immediately move the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev from the Economy Ministry to the Welfare Ministry. The move had been planned to take place next week, but Ra’am demanded it be moved up, warning it could stop cooperating with the coalition if it were not.
News outlets quoted sources saying Ra’am was voicing general frustration about the government’s treatment of the party, arguing that it had made the most concessions and reaped the smallest gains of any faction in the coalition, particularly regarding its demands on construction permits for its Bedouin constituents in the Negev region.
The original coalition deal with Ra’am had called for the matter to be placed on the agenda several weeks from this point. However, the vote was moved up in response to the party’s demands and its vow to boycott Knesset committee sessions and plenum votes until further notice.
The ultimatum has drawn the attention of the Regavim Movement, a watchdog organization that monitors issues involving land grabs by the Palestinian Authority. “The extortionist demand that the Israeli government must dance to Ra’am’s tune endangers the Negev and the entire State of Israel,” Regavim Director General Meir Deutsch said in a statement. “It is inconceivable that the government’s policy in the Negev, which is at a crucial juncture, will be dictated by the Islamic Movement blackmail,” Deutsch said.