The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has urged the Israeli government to discipline those Israeli Arab Members of Knesset (MKs) who have recently supported law breaking and encouraged Arabs to physically attack Jews in Jerusalem. Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, himself, hit an Israeli police officer. The ZOA is urging Israel to strip them of parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
Last week MK Touma Sliman (Joint Arab List) stated on the Israeli radio station Reshet Bet that “Arab violence in Jerusalem is expression of universal right to oppose occupation” (‘Audio MK Aida Touma Sliman Joint Arab List justifies Arab violence in Jerusalem,’ Youtube, September 22, 2015). Ms Sliman neither condemned nor discouraged the violence nor said anything to indicate that she believed that the law had to be upheld.
In response to these threats of violence and law-breaking by Israeli Arabs over the Succot festival made by Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the country’s radical Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch, MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint Arab List) said, “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is playing with fire … Continued aggression against the Palestinians and their holy places will inflame a third intifada … we must block the streets of East Jerusalem and its alleys without thousands to undermine the attempts of settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint Arab List) said that “attacks [sic] on the Al-Aqsa Mosque have reached a dangerous point, in which no one can remain neutral. The occupied interior will generate furious actions at the end of the month when a wave of Jews come to Al-Asqa on Sukkot” (Shimon Cohen, ‘Arab MKs Threaten Israel with ‘Intifada’ on Sukkot,’ Israel National News, September 24, 2015).
Also, Zahalka was recently filmed berating Israeli Police over allowing Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, while Tibi was filmed at the same site hitting an Israel Police officer, which is a criminal offense (Hezki Ezra, ‘Minister Denounces Arab MKs’ “Recipe of Hatred,”’ Israel National News, September 29, 2015). Zahalka was recorded saying, “Crazy criminals, you’re all Kahanists, fascists, racists, get out of here, you hurt Muslims …“This is not yours, get out of here, go home, you’re not wanted” (‘Arab lawmaker shouts at Jews on Temple Mount: “This is not yours, get out of here,”’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 29, 2015).
Another Joint Arab List MK, Hanin Zoabi reacted to a description by MK Ze’ev Elkin of Arab efforts to prevent Jews ascending Temple Mount as being Nazi-like with accusing Israeli policy of being actually Nazi-like, saying, “It’s rude and bullying to compare the demand to defend Muslims’ right to pray at their holy sight to the Nazi regime. Everyone knows who is closer to the Nazi regime –– MK Hanin Zoabi or the State of Israel and Minister Elkin.” She also foreshadowed “resistance” to Jews going on Temple Mount, which she called an “invasion” (Ido Ben Porat, ‘MK Zoabi: Israel More Like Nazi Regime Than I Am,’ Israel National News, September 29, 2015).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is truly remarkable to see certain members of the Knesset backing, encouraging and threatening violence. MK Zahalka even spoke of the ‘occupied interior,’ meaning that he regards Israel, in whose parliament he sits, as occupied territory.
In doing these things, these MKs seek to in inflame Arab and Muslim opinion through lies, such as falsely claiming that Israeli authorities or groups are attacking the Al Aqsa Mosque.
“The only violence that has recently occurred on Temple Mount is against Jews wishing to visit Judaism’s holiest site. There has been no attack by Jews upon peaceful Muslims on Temple Mount.
“Thus, MK Zahalka brazenly lies when he states that there have been ‘attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.’ There have been no attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There have been solely attacks on peaceful Jews by Muslims operating from inside the Al Aqsa Mosque.
“This is not only rank dishonestly but incitement to violence.
“Neither Sliman, Zahalka, Tibi nor Zoabi condemned Muslim violence against Jews. They didn’t condemn or discourage the talk of impending Arab violence. They didn’t do their civic duty to tamp down tensions and prevent bloodshed. They didn’t even pretend that they would do so.
“One might expect leading parliamentary representatives of Israel’s Arab community to call for calm, to warn against and discourage violence and lawlessness, but they didn’t. To the contrary, they encouraged it.
“There seems to be a bigotry of low expectations here, with no-one either expecting or penalizing these MKs for their inflammatory, dangerous, unlawful and quite possibly treasonous conduct.
“Parliamentary immunity is an important principle. It exists to allow members of legislative bodies to foster debate or raise issues, to ask questions or make statements they might not be lawfully able to make outside the legislature. It does not exist anywhere in the world except apparently in Israel to permit members to encourage and incite violence and law-breaking.
“Israel cannot afford a deteriorating state of affairs in which Arab MKs incite violence, justify violence and threaten violence. It cannot afford a situation in which Arab MKs tell lies at home and abroad in order to inflame Arab and Muslim opinion against Israel.
“In any other country, a parliamentarian who incited violence and breaking of the law would find themselves in jail, or else heavily penalized. Here, these MKs have not even been suspended. Something is wrong with this picture.
“The ZOA respectfully urges the Israeli government to start acting now against MKs who incite violence and thereby help to cause bloodshed. There should be no parliamentary immunity for such acts and the law must be changed to reflect this.”