On February 14, 2002, the Israeli government sent several light planes to spray 12,000 dunams of crops in the southern Negev region with poisonous chemicals. The destroyed fields had been cultivated for years by Bedouin Arabs, on ancestral lands they claim as their own. The minister responsible for land management, Avigdor Lieberman, explained:
We must stop their illegal invasion of state land by all means possible. The Bedouins have no regard for our laws; in the process we are losing the last resources of state lands. One of my main missions is to return to the power of the Land Authority in dealing with the non-Jewish threat to our lands.