Arab Knesset Members to Diplomats: Support PA State
Rightwing MKs were up in arms Thursday, after Arab Knesset members urged African diplomats to convince their leaders to support the Palestinian Authority's plan to declare an Arab state in all of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem in September, and to seek United Nations recognition for the state.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, MK Ayoub Kara (Likud) vehemently slammed the Arab MKs, demanding that the government do something to stop what he called “this plot against the Israeli government. We must consider whether this is what is meant by democracy.” Kara said that it was not, terming the Arab MK's actions “a molestation of democracy.”
Earlier Thursday, Arab Mks Ibrahim Sarsour, Ahmed Tibi, and Hana Swed met with 13 diplomats and officials of African countries at the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv, and asked them to recognized the Arab state the PA plans to declare. The MKs said that their actions were necessary, given that 15 years of negotiations had not led to a PA state.
On Wednesday, Sarsour sent a letter to the Arab League, asking it to declare a Jihad to “liberate” Jerusalem. “Al-Quds cries out to the Arab nation, asking if there are any who will conduct a Jihad today, as in the past, to liberate her. No Arab leader who avoids this question will be able to avoid the judgement of history,” Sarsour wrote.
MKs reacted sharply to Thursday's meeting.
“I appreciate the honesty of the Arab MKs who want to be considered loyal citizens of a PA Arab state, since according to them, the State of Israel is a racist state they don’t want to belong to,” said MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima). “Their supporters in the triangle and in Wadi Ara should be asked if they approve of the racism of those whom they elected,” he added.
MK Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) responded to the meetings by saying that “there cannot be a situation where Israeli Foreign Ministry and other government officials are engaged in pro-Israel public relations, while members of the Israeli parliament blatantly ruin these efforts. This is an insult to every citizen of Israel. I do not intend to ignore it,” said Matalon.
Kara told Arutz Sheva that the law must be changed to make actions like those taken by the Arab MKs illegal. “They are inciting against the state,” Kara said. “There is no precedent for this anywhere else in the world. One who calls himself a 'Palestinian' has no business running for the Knesset – you cannot call yourself 'Palestinian' and still sit in the Israeli parliament. If a Mexican tried something like this in the U.S. Congress, they would take a whip and drive him out of there.”
Kara added that not only were the actions of the Arab MKs illegal and damaging to the state – they were hypocritical, as well. “The Arab MKs continuously term Israel an 'apartheid state,' but so far no Israeli Arab has sought to leave Israel for Jordan, or even for the Palestinian Authority.”