Barakeh and Lieberman
Barakeh and LiebermanIsrael news photo montage

Arab Knesset Member Mohammed Barakeh has justified the public burning on Tuesday of a photo of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, saying it was a “legitimate” protest and not an act of incitement.

Hate chants also were heard at the annual Land Day demonstration in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod, located near Ben Gurion International Airport.

Even Voice of Israel legal commentator Moshe Negbie, whose views usually are oriented to the left and to the secular community, said the Lod rally was outright incitement and that police should conduct a criminal probe.

MK Barakeh accused Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home) party of “leading a campaign that threatens the basic existence of the Arab community.”

“The only government policy towards Arabs is the use of bulldozers [against illegal Arab construction] and the passage of racist law in the Knesset, Barakeh said on Voice of Israel government radio.

The Arab MK warned police not to intervene in Land Day rallies Wednesday and said that reports of incitement at the Lod rally Tuesday were exaggerated. He said he did not see the burning photo of Minister Lieberman but charged that “Arab lives are being   burnt” by the Israeli government.

Land Day marks the clashes over land ownership in the Galilee in 1976, resulting in the deaths of six Arabs.