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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Arab MK's cannot be accused of dual loyalty

Israel's Arab members of Knesset cannot be accused of dual loyalty. But that's not because they are not loyal to their Arab constituencies. It's because they have no loyalty to the State of Israel. This should come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with this country. What is surprising the blatancy with which their lack of loyalty is being flaunted.

Take, for instance, a conference taking place in Ramallah today called the 'Jerusalem First' conference. Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsur, the head of the United Arab List - Ta'al, called on all Arabs and Muslims to focus all of their efforts on Jerusalem:
"If we act in concert, we can become a torrent on the road to liberation," he declared.

In his comments, Sarsur emphasized the religious importance of Jerusalem for Muslims and said that Israeli plans for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and all around the city, must be resisted. "Just as the Muslims liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders, so we must believe that today, too, the liberation of Jerusalem is not an impossible mission," he said, adding that "security, peace and stability will be achieved only when the city is liberated."

Sarsur emphasized that "Muslims around the world need to concentrate their energies on Jerusalem, not on Iraq or Kashmir or any other place, because Jerusalem is the central and most dangerous issue and thus must form the banner and the framework for the struggle of Muslims and Arabs around the world."
At least Sarsur represents an Arab party. Knesset member Mohammed Barakeh represents Hadash, a mixed Arab and Jewish party: Addressing the assembled delegates, he said:
"I ask, what have we done to fight the plans of the Israeli occupation? What are we doing while Israel is deploying money and legions of clerks with the purpose of implementing its plans in Jerusalem? We need to coordinate Palestinian actions, making them more organized and giving them more leverage."

Barakeh emphasized that Israeli strategic initiatives in the city did not begin with the recent excavations and construction at Mugrabi Gate . "The Israeli plan began in 1967 with the city's annexation, when Israel brought 190,000 settlers to the Jerusalem area in order to guarantee a Jewish majority." He also asserted that "the racist separation fence brought about the flight of 150,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem."
Let's pause there for a minute. Let's leave aside all the accusations about whether the fence is 'racist.' That accusation is just a lie. Not only has the fence not caused 150,000 'Palestinians' to leave Jerusalem - it has caused thousands to move into Jerusalem from Judea and Samaria to avoid being cut off from the city! Back to Barakeh....
"With all due respect to the city's holiness, Jerusalem is first and foremost a national issue, not just a religious issue. Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state, but we must be careful because the Israelis are taking actions intended to empty Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants and strengthen the Jewish majority.

"In addition," Barakeh warned, "the Israelis are working to empty the city of its Palestinian assets. This is happening with the theft of the property of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Israel seeks to take advantage of the church's silence about the theft of its assets to bargain over the recognition of the patriarch.

"With all due respect to Al-Aqsa Mosque and its holiness," Barakeh declared, "if Israel succeeds in emptying Jerusalem of its residents, what will be the city's importance? The city, if it has no inhabitants, will be no more than stones."

Barakeh told the assembled delegates that in 1994, when Yassir Arafat returned to the Palestinian territories, he told Hadash representatives that he hoped they would soon all pray together at Al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Barakeh, he responded that "we don't want to enter Jerusalem merely as worshippers, we want to accompany (Arafat) as the head of a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem."
And then there is Israel's first Arab minister, Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadle - of the Jewish Labor party - who refuses to sing HaTikva because it's "the Israeli national anthem." No, don't hold your breath expecting Labor to do anything about him.
Majadle, a long-time member of the Labor party defended his decision, saying he does not believe that “enlightened and sane Jews” would request a Muslim to sing a song which speaks to the Jewish people. “The Arabs are not in a mood to sing right now,” the Arab minister in Israel's government commented.
It goes without saying that Arafat's former advisor, Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, agrees with Majadle:
“The attacks on him from the Right are hypocritical, self-righteous and ridiculous.” MK Tibi added that he too never sings the anthem.

“HaTikvah’s words cannot be sung by any Arab citizen,” he pointed out. “Lately we have witnessed a torrent of anti-Arab statements and this should be understood in this context,” he said.
If Tibi wants to put a stop to anti-Arab statements, he ought to consider appreciating the fact that he can be elected to the Knesset in the Jewish state. Surely no Jew could be elected to the legislature in an Arab country.


At 4:26 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Some good points about the Arab MKs. A analogy would be if Hispanic Congressional reps from Arizona/New Mexico suddenly began agitating for the return of their states to their pre-1848 status as Mexican territory.

While it is not an Arab country, muslim Iran does have a single, token Jew in its legislature. I do not envy that man his job...


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