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Israeli Arabs Are 'Palestinians', Says Head of Communist Party

At "Nakba Day" event, the Secretary-General of the Hadash party says Israeli Arabs are part of "the Palestinian people".
By Dalit Halevi and Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/16/2014, 4:43 AM

Nakba Day
Nakba Day
Reuters

Ayman Odeh, Secretary-General of the far-left Communist Hadash party, said on Thursday that Israeli Arabs were part of “the Palestinian people”.

Odeh, who participated in an event in honor of “Nakba Day”, on which Arabs commemorate the “catastrophe” of the establishment of the State of Israel, said that Israeli Arabs remained in their land despite being victims of Israel’s “repressive measures”.

He further accused Israel of trying to turn the Israeli-Arab conflict into a religious conflict between Muslims and Jews.

"We are almost at the point where the state (of Israel) will turn into a Jewish one, with 20 percent of its residents being Palestinian Arabs," Odeh was quoted as having said by the WAFA news agency.

"As long as we adhere to our (Palestinian) belonging, the state will become a bi-national one,” he declared, adding that Israeli Arabs must “serve their people”, meaning Palestinian Arabs.

The Hadash party, which has four representatives in the Knesset, is made up of both Jewish and Arab members.

One of its members, Mohammed Barakeh, last year attended a post-Ramadan dinner that was organized by the Turkish IHH organization, which was responsible for the 2010 flotilla aimed at breaking the naval blockade on Gaza.

Last year, during a heated debate in the Knesset on a bill that would legalize pirate Bedouin settlement in the Negev, Barakeh was one of several Arab MKs who tore up the law and charged that the Knesset “is turning into a racist legislative machine.”

When Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat stood up and called Barakeh “insolent” over his comments, he responded by telling her to "shut up."

It should be noted that while Arab MKs claim to identify with “Palestinians”, they react with anger when it is suggested that areas of Israel with a heavy Arab population would be transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of a future peace deal.