Joint List MK Ayman Odeh.
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh gave contradictory answers when asked in an interview Tuesday if he supports a violent Palestinian struggle against Israel.
Asked by Army Radio host Razi Barkai if the shooting murder of the Henkin parents in the West Bank last week is part of the “popular struggle,” Odeh said that “the Palestinian people choose how to fight against the occupation. I have no doubt that the popular way is the right way and definitely not armed struggle.”
He emphasized that he has rejected armed struggle in the past. An occupied nation has a “right to struggle” for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, he added.
However, when pressed by Barkai if that means he is against throwing rocks, throwing firebombs, and shooting at cars, Odeh responded that regarding throwing rocks, he supported the first intifada, which was “fully justified” because of the “occupation.”
Asked if throwing rocks is part of an armed struggle or legitimate protest, Odeh replied, “I always blame the occupation for being guilty.
I cannot tell the nation how to struggle, where and which target to throw the rock. I do not put red lines on the Arab Palestinian nation,” he continued.
Odeh also argued he does not view waving the Palestinian flag as a provocation. He said it is the national flag of the Palestinian Arab nation and “does not threaten anyone. Every nation has a flag,” he added.
Odeh, who described himself as secular, said the tensions over al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount is explosive.
“Al-Aksa is a religious and national symbol” and the Israeli media do not want to talk about the country’s “changing of the status quo and not allowing people to pray there for six hours per day,” Odeh said.
Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount and may only visit in small groups, as part of the status quo maintained by the government and police. Muslim visits to the Mount are limited in accordance with the security situation, but they are allowed to pray when at the site.
Politicians on the Right and Left accused Odeh of justifying rock-throwing.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev expressed disappointment in Odeh, pointing out how he calls for coexistence between Jews and Arabs, and adding that “promises are one thing and actions are another.”
“According to what he said this morning, Odeh is part of the extremist branch of his party, led by people in Balad and MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al). If Ayman Odeh does not identify with that terrorist group, I expect him to take his difficult statements back and clarify on every platform that he condemns violence and opposes terrorism,” Regev said.
If he does not do so, Regev, added, she will “make sure he pays the price for his words of incitement.”
MK Anat Berko (Likud) said: “Apparently some members of the Joint List don’t have red lines even if they are drawn in Jews’ blood, which is why many of them act within the Knesset to pass anti-Israel laws.
“They do not represent the state nor do they represent a large part of their constituents.
They incite and sometimes even lie. Even MK Ayman Odeh’s façade doesn’t help anymore to hide the malicious intentions against the security of the State of Israel,” she said.
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said “Arab MKs feel like they’re above the law and they compete against one another over who can be more extremist against the state and who can incite more to murder Jews and launch a third intifada.
“MK Ayman Odeh, the Palestinian Arab who knows how to sweet-talk and has Israeli citizenship turns out to be like the terrorists and is directly responsible for the situation. His words are the same as though he threw the rock or firebomb himself,” Hazan stated.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said Odeh’s remarks prove that the Joint List is the diplomatic arm of terrorist organizations, which use the Knesset to destroy Israel from the inside.
“In light of the fact that the High Court canceled the Central Elections Committee’s decision to prevent MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) from running for the Knesset, Yisrael Beytenu plans to pass a law to prevent those who aid terrorists from being reelected to the Knesset,” he said.
MK Itzik Shmuly (Zionist Union) called Odeh’s statements “angering and disappointing” and sounded like the words of a political pundit rather than the head of a 13-seat faction in the Knesset.
“Those who want peace have to be determined against the violent and extremist margins on both sides and set clear limits for them,” he said. “There is no contradiction between a determined fight against terror and wanting to promote a diplomatic solution.”
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