Arab Knesset Leader Congratulates Palestinians on Reconciliation

MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List (Arab) Party, addresses Israeli left-wing activists during a recent rally in Tel Aviv, calling for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Arab MK’s were once again at odds with official Israeli policy on Tuesday as Joint List party leader Ayman Odeh called Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to congratulate them on their reconciliation process.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the reconciliation “bogus” and said that Israel rejects a process “in which the Palestinian side apparently reconciles at the expense of our existence.”

Netanyahu demanded that the Palestinians “recognize the state of Israel, disband the Hamas military arm, sever the connection with Iran,” as part of any unity government.

But Odeh was in synch with Hamas. According to a statement, Odeh stressed in both conversations that “all efforts must be made to unite and overcome any disputes in order to end the Israeli occupation.”

Haniyeh told Odeh that the sentiment represents the feelings of the Palestinian people everywhere, and emphasized his goal of unifying Palestinians against “the occupation,” a statement said.

“Those who oppose Palestinian reconciliation oppose peace,” Odeh tweeted on Tuesday, in an apparent riposte to Netanyahu.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman branded Odeh an advocate for terror:

“Unfortunately, the political leadership of Israeli Arabs, as represented in the Knesset by the Joint List, has become a real fifth column — without quotation marks — a senior representation of terrorist organizations in the Knesset,” said Liberman in a statement on Tuesday. He urged Arab Israelis to turn away from the Joint List and elect new leadership.