Aiman Odeh, head of united Arab list
Aiman Odeh, head of united Arab list Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Aiman Odeh, chairman of the Arab United List, on Sunday decried the “Israeli occupation” at the Herzliya Conference, and condemned the Israeli Left for not doing more to force Israel to surrender Judea, Samaria, and most of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. “The Israeli occupation is the longest since the end of World War II, and the last one,” said Odeh. “We are in favor of the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1948 armistice lines, and I as an Israeli Arab have a huge stake in this.

“Because I am a part of this state, I am terribly torn,” Odeh said. “I am a part of this country and of the Palestinian nation. I want this for the Israeli nation as well. A society cannot be moral when it occupies another nation, instead of wasting money in the settlements and providing money for the weak and the poor. This is primarily for the Palestinians, but not just for them. We must free both nations from the occupation,” he added.

As matters stood, there were no chance of counting on help from the Israeli Left, said Odeh.

Speaking earlier, Zionist Union/Labor Party head Yitzchak Herzog said that he wished to “divorce” the Palestinians, and create a Jewish state with a majority of Jews. “I have no expectations from the Netanyahu-Bennett government we now have,” Herzog said. “Twenty out of the thirty Likud MKs oppose a Palestinian state of any kind, and few of the rest support a proper one either. Suffice to say that the leaders of Likud and Jewish Home want to adopt the radical plans of the left – turning Israel into a majority Arab state – which is what will happen soon. Their slogan is 'a Jewish State on all of the Land of Israel' – and this is a lie and a fraud,” he said.

This was no way for the leader of the opposition, much less one who purports leftist views, to behave, said Odeh. “The Zionist Left wishes to rid itself of the Palestinians in order to retain a Jewish majority. What kind of way is this for a leftist group to behave? With a Left like this, who needs a Right?

“What about me, the Israeli Arab,” queried Odeh. “What do you have to say to me? Is your approach one of granting the Palestinians their place in the sun, or just an exercise in racism? What is the difference between the left and the views of Avigdor Liberman, who is in favor of 'transfer?' What about the principles of self-determination for all people, a very leftist value?”