”I heard the attacks on me in some faction meetings today, and I wish to make it clear: We are in favor of the integration of Israel`s Arab citizens into society, the economy and the state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during Monday`s plenary sitting.
”We are investing a lot of resources and efforts in this, but at the same time, and particularly out of this outlook, we are not willing to accept a situation in which MKs support the families of people who murder Israeli citizens. There is a limit,” he said, referring to Joint List MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas, who met last week with the families of a number of terrorists from Jerusalem.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu (archive photo)
”There is such a thing called national pride,” Netanyahu continued. ”I am trying to imagine what would have happened in the British Parliament if Members of Parliament would have stood for a moment of silence in memory of Jihadi John, or if Members of the American Congress would have observed a moment of silence in memory of the murderer from California. They would not have accepted it, and we will not accept it either. We will act against it.”
MK Zahalka was removed from the hall after being called to order three times.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said: ”Me and many of my colleagues are disgusted by what the Joint List MKs did and disagree with it from the bottom of our hearts, but equating this to violating the basic rules of the Knesset`s conduct will lead to a slippery slope, and one day MKs from the right and left will be thrown out of here for inappropriate behavior. As the Knesset, it is our duty to preserve the rules of fair play in the most basic way […] because the Knesset already possesses the tools to deal with this phenomenon.”
Earlier, MK Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List faction, said he supports the steps that are being taken to return the bodies [of the Palestinian terrorists] to their families, including a meeting with the families, ”because this is a humane and moral act of the highest level.” He wondered: What`s all the fuss about? A moment of silence?”
”We condemn attacks on innocent civilians, Jews and Palestinians alike, but we support the just struggle of the Palestinian people,” Odeh added. ”I urge you all to lower the flames. This is incitement, mainly on the part of the prime minister. This is not merely built-in racism, it is also deliberate politics.”