Wednesday, March 9

Israeli Arab Leaders Defending Hezbollah

"The policies that the Israeli political establishment is pursuing [are] leading us all into a dead end," says Odeh [Ayman Odeh's campaign]
It does not seem logical let alone very destructive for the Arab leaders of the Joint List in the Knesset to proclaim that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization. The Balad and Hadash factions in this list are pressurizing the Joint Arab List to support Hezbollah and legitimize it. What is the purpose of doing this? Hezbollah has a history of firing rockets into Israel and injuring Arab citizens of Israel as well. Rockets fired into Israel kill and destroy and make no distinction between Jews and Arabs. In this respect it is not apartheid-friendly.

The Joint List is the third largest party in the Knesset. It is in the unique position of representing the Arab Israeli minority’s interests and fighting for equality with its Jewish counterparts in Israel. There is much that can be done in that sphere. Combating social and work discrimination as well as improving socio-economic conditions for the Arab community they represent is a formidable task. It should work in improving relations between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel and acting as a bridge between the two communities. Ayman Oudeh, the Joint List leader prior to his election to the Knesset, appeared to move along the path of coexistence, promoting dialogue between the communities  and certainly deserved support for taking the line of tolerance in outreach.

What has happened to Oudeh? Why is he not showing the leadership qualities for which he was elected? He is being led into a direction which is creating distrust between his party and Jewish Israelis. He is not forthcoming in representing his electorate’s interests of coexistence and socio-economic improvement as well as integration into being Israel Citizens with equal human rights and dignity that the Arab Citizens of Israel are entitled. The Balad factions of his party are pandering to the peers of Palestinian terrorists, who come into Israel on lone stabbing sprees. Instead he and his party are antagonizing Jewish Israelis as well as many Arab Israelis by wasting unnecessary energy on standing to attention and sympathizing with parents of Palestinian terrorists whose sons and daughters were killed while committing terrorist acts. This is no way to gain the trust of Jewish and Arab Israelis. 

Added to the behavior of the Joint List, which seems to represent Palestinian interests in the Knesset rather than Israeli Arab interests by the rhetoric in support of viewing Hezbollah as a movement devoid of terrorism creates an unnecessary schism between Arabs and Jews in Israel.

If he wishes to regain the trust of Jewish Israelis as well as many Arab Israelis, who have also suffered at the hand of Palestinian terror, he should retract the statement declaring Hezbollah as not being a terrorist movement and be more forthcoming in condemning Palestinian terror against innocent citizens by not getting involved in returning terrorist Palestinian corpses to their families. There are channels in Israel whereby this is being done without Joint List sympathy and activity. 

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