Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman called for the execution of any Arab MKs who meet with representatives of the Palestinian Authority's Hamas-led government during a speech delivered to the Knesset plenum on Thursday.
"World War II ended with the Nurenberg trials," Lieberman said. "The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."
In response, United Arab List Chairman Ibrahim Sarsour submitted a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee following the comments. MK Ahmad Tibi (UAL) called the statement "a call for the murder of the Arab MKs."
Hadash Chairman Muhammad Barakei said that Lieberman has proven once again that fascism was the final province of the lowlife. "If someone should be put on trial," Barakei said, "it should be mafiosos such as him."
Lieberman also claimed that Israel Beiteinu had demanded in coalition negotiations "that it be written in the government's guidelines that all the inciters and terror collaborators sitting in the Knesset will be punished. Justice should be served to those who continue meeting with Hamas and Hizbullah."
Over the past month, various Arab MKs have met with Hamas parliamentarians. Among other things, they spoke of the government's decision to rescind Hamas parliamentarians' residency rights in Israeli territory, including Jerusalem, following the April 17 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv's old central bus station.
The first to meet with Hamas parliamentarians in early April were UAL-Ta'al MKs, including the faction's representative on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Taleb A-Sanaa. Another meeting took place in east Jerusalem between Balad MKs Jamal Zahalka and Wasal Taha with Palestinian Authority minister Mahmoud Abu-Teir. The third meeting took place in late April in Qatar between Balad Chairman Azmi Bishara and Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Mahmoud A-Zahar.
In response to the Arab MKs' complaints, Israel Beiteinu MK Estherina Tartman defended Lieberman's comments, saying that "Lieberman didn't speak of Arabs or Muslims, but all collaborators. There is nothing strange about this statement. When you have enemies who seek to destroy the state, you have to deal with them, whatever their ethnicity or religion."
The Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel released a statement saying, "A man who compares the Arab MKs to the Nazis is apparently an ignoramus who doesn't know what the Nazis did to his own people. Such a man is an embarrassment to the Jewish nation."
Labor MK Eitan Cabel echoed the criticism of Lieberman's comments, saying, "His perspective is racist. I will do everything I can to make sure he isn't in the next government."
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