MK Bahloul angers Labor chairman

Arab MK won't attend Knesset session marking Balfour Declaration's 100th anniversary. Gabbay's associates: This will be his last term.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Zouheir Bahloul
Zouheir Bahloul
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) announced on Monday that he will not take part in the special Knesset plenum session marking the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Balfour Declaration.

"I will not participate in the gathering and it's not in defiance. It is not a joint celebration for me and my Jewish friends. What about my people? You received the right of self-determination through the Balfour Declaration. Everyone has totally ignored the Palestinian right," Bahloul told Channel 2 News.

"I am part of the Zionist Union, but I am not a Zionist myself, and I cannot be a Zionist. As a Palestinian, in the second part of my identity and substance, I deserve at least recognition of my narrative. I do not think I should participate when I am not free,” he continued.

Following the remarks, associates of Labor chairman Avi Gabbay blasted Bahloul and said they would work to ensure that this term in the Knesset would be Bahloul's last, adding that his place is not in the Labor party.

"He is fed up with the extreme statements of Bahloul," the associates said, referring to Gabbay, and added, "This is Bahloul's last term in the Knesset."

Bahloul caused an uproar last year when he claimed that an Arab terrorist who stabbed a soldier in Hevron was not a "terrorist".

He later toned down his rhetoric, saying, “It is impossible to attribute such things to me. Are you crazy? The soldiers are victims of the cursed politics under which we live. These may be the children of my neighbors, would I want for their lives to end? All I said was that we must speak in terms that will awaken Israelis from their slumber. There is occupation.”

The November 2, 1917, Balfour Declaration was sent by then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour and proclaimed Britain’s support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in then-Palestine.

The Palestinian Arabs have for months been waging a campaign aimed at forcing Britain to apologize for the document.

The British government in April rejected the demand to apologize for the Declaration, saying, “The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) does not intend to apologize. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”

On Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was “proud” of the document and of Britain's part in creating Israel.