Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Friday issued a scathing condemnation of MK Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List party, who visited archterrorist Marwan Barghouti in prison.
Barghouti, one of the founders of the Tanzim terrorist group which is affiliated with the Fatah movement, is currently serving five life sentences in Israeli prison for his role in planning suicide terror attacks.
He is widely believed to have masterminded the second intifada which claimed thousands of Israeli lives from 2000 to 2005. He has continued inciting terrorism from his jail cell.
“I want to talk to you about MK Ayman Odeh,” Erdan wrote on his Facebook page on Friday. “A political leader of a major party in the Israeli Knesset. Yesterday he visited Barghouti in prison. This was not the first time he visited him. It is very important for Ayman to visit him. Previously, he also promised that he and Barghouti would march together in Jerusalem.”
Erdan continued, “Now look, you’ve known me a day or two and you know I almost never raise the tone, even when my blood is really boiling. I always prefer a substantive discussion. But Odeh once again crossed a red line.
“What kind of a world do we live in, when the head of a party in the Israeli Knesset meets Barghouti, a terrorist directly responsible, and this is just one example, for the attack on Beit Ma'ariv [in Tel Aviv], in which Sergeant-Major Selim Barakat, 33, and Eliyahu Dahan, 53, were stabbed to death? You hug this man, Ayman Odeh? Barghouti who sent the terrorists who murdered Yoela Chen who stood near the gas station on Route 443?” continued Erdan.
“Do you really not understand the moral degradation in this visit and in the admiration for a man convicted in a court of capital murder, accessory to murder and solicitation of murder? That’s your model?
“You chose not to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres, a man who praised the coexistence between Arabs and Jews, you chose to desecrate his memory and his work along with the rest of the Knesset members in your list,” wrote Erdan. “But Marwan Barghouti, who was personally responsible for hundreds of funerals of innocent people – him you have no problem visiting? There is a red line, Mr. Odeh. You crossed it; I do not intend to remain quiet about it. I'll update later.”
Erdan asked Facebook users to “please share so that Odeh’s true face is exposed to everyone.”
This past April, speaking at the Palestine House in Toronto, Odeh praised Barghouti as “a great fighter and a model of endurance and patience. Despite long years of captivity, he is lofty and has optimism, a capability of conducting analysis, and a clear political vision which liberals lack.”
He is also not the only Arab MK to have visited Barghouti in prison. MK Ahmed Tibi visited Barghouti in the Hadarim prison last month.
MK Yousef Jabareen has also visited the archterrorist. It should be noted that despite repeated appeals to the Knesset Speaker and to the Knesset Ethics Committee, no significant sanctions are levied against MKs who visit terrorists in prison.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)