Senior Fatah member Nabil Shaath_390.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is using Iran as a way to distract both
Israelis and the world at large from the Palestinian issue, Nabeel Sha’ath, the
Fatah Commissioner for International Affairs, said on Thursday.
compared the prime minister’s fear-mongering to former president George
Bush’s insistence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in
the lead-up to the American invasion of Iraq.
“We’re afraid that a
so-called preventive attack on Iran might also destroy us,” Sha’ath said. “We
are being dragged by the people of Israel to a slaughterhouse that is not of our
Sha’ath made the comments during a meeting with Meretz activists
at the Mukata Compound in Ramallah organized by Jerusalem City Councillor Meir
Margalit, who holds the east Jerusalem portfolio. He also spoke at length about
his optimism for a two-state solution and faith that UN recognition will help
the Palestinians achieve some of their goals in the negotiation
Sha’ath told The Jerusalem Post that he shared some of the
Israelis’ concern, but not their paranoia. “I am worried about any country
developing weapons that may be used against my country or against my
neighborhood,” he said.
“But honestly, I’m worried about your atomic
bomb, and Dimona [nuclear reactor] sending nuclear dirt that kills my people,”
Sha’ath said. “Why should I be less concerned about an Israeli bomb? The Israeli
bomb is a reality. The Iranian bomb is a potentiality.”
Deputy Mayor Pepe
Alalu (Meretz) challenged Sha’ath to encourage east Jerusalem Arabs to vote in
municipal elections. Most east Jerusalem Arabs are considered residents, not
citizens, which means they can vote in local elections but not national ones.
However, for ideological reasons, east Jerusalem Arabs boycott the elections
rather than take part in an Israeli democratic process.
Sha’ath said that
although east Jerusalem is “in dire need of attention,” he will continue to
encourage Arabs not to vote in local elections because of the political and
ideological implications. Sha’ath said that that advancing east Jerusalem’s
agenda should be the responsibility of the peace camp and Meretz in
Alalu told the Post that he wants Sha’ath and the PA to
reconsider this position because east Jerusalem needs representation in city
hall if they want to make serious changes to their communities.
want to get better, they need to be organized, politically organized,” said
Alalu. “They need it. The economic and employment and infrastructure situation
is unacceptable, like the third world... and it won’t change unless they take
things into their own hands,” he said.
Alalu estimated that since Arabs
make up about 37 percent of Jerusalem’s population there could eventually be
nine Arab city council members and the sector would have a large influence on
the mayoral race.”