Liberman: Ignore, Ban Arab MKs

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman taking questions in the Knesset on Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is demanding that Israeli parties from right and left vote to ban the United Arab List from Knesset activities. Liberman asked that coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) ensure that such a ban is instituted.

At a meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party Sunday, Liberman said that the boycott of UAL MKs of Shimon Peres’s recent funeral was enough to get the party banned from Knesset activities. The ban would not remove the party’s MKs from the Knesset plenum, but would prevent MKs from interacting with them, and walking out on speeches made by them. Liberman has asked MK Oded Forer of his party to sign up the Zionist Camp and Yesh Atid for his effort, since as Zionist parties they should make clear to the Arab MKs that they must have respect for Israeli institutions and leaders.

In a stinging speech over the weekend, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan slammed the head of the Joint Arab List, Ayman Oudeh, over his visit last week with arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti. “What kind of world are we living in when the head of a political party represented in the Knesset meets a terrorist like Barghouti, who is directly responsible for a terror attack in the Maariv building in Tel Aviv in which two people were stabbed? The Barghouti who sent terrorists to murder an Israeli standing at a bus stop on Road 443? Do you not, Oudeh, understand the moral degeneracy in your visit to and admiration of such a murderer?”

Barghouti, 56, was sentenced to five life sentences in 2002 after being convicted of multiple murder and attempted murder charges for attacks carried out by the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades on Israeli civilians and soldiers during the Second Intifada. He is considered one of the founders of “Tanzim,” one of Fatah’s armed terrorist factions, and has continued to exert great influence within the party even from prison.

Erdan also pointed out how Oudeh was absent from the funeral of Shimon Peres, “the man who made coexistence between Jews and Arabs the central point of his work. To his funeral you and your fellow UAL MKs refused to come, but for Marwan Barghouti, who is personally responsible for dozens and hundreds of funerals and mourning of innocent people, you have no problem visiting him?”

In response, Oudeh said that “Minister Erdan authorizes all MK visits with prisoners, so I imagine that when he approved this meeting he ‘forgot’ about it and then remembered in time to make his wild and inciting comments. It is frightening that the minister in charge of the police is making threats over political matters.” Erdan, for his part, said that Oudeh “is not just a terror supporter but also a consistent liar. I do not approve any visits, it is the responsibility of the Prisons Service.”

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