Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh said at a faction meeting on Monday on the eve of a general strike and major protest planned in the northern city of Sakhnin that “the Arab public has a democratic right to speak out.”
“We must collectively mobilize, all of us, for the success of the strike tomorrow, which will express our democratic and civil struggle,” said Odeh.
The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee decided on the strike and protest, which will shut businesses and schools.
The chairman of the committee, Mazen Gnaim, told Army Radio in an interview on Monday that the planned protest in Sakhnin would not get violent.
“I assure you that this rally is only based on peace and equality,” said Gnaim, who is also the mayor of Sakhnin..
“We will not approve of anyone taking the law into their own hands,” he said, adding, “None of us wants to see the blocking of roads or the throwing of rocks or firebombs.”
Members of the Monitoring Committee and Joint List MKs are expected to attend.
The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, an organization that coordinates Arab political action, is made up of Arab MKs, municipal leaders, and other community figures.
In the Joint List meeting, Odeh reiterated his claim that the government is responsible for the deterioration in the security situation.
“The Israeli government thinks that you can manage the conflict – it cannot be managed under occupation,” he said. He called for negotiations to begin immediately in order to reach a peace agreement that ends the occupation and establishes a Palestinian state.
“The uprising and struggle against the occupation is natural and expected,” he continued.
However, he added, “We are against any civilian casualties,” and need to get the two peoples out of the “cycle of terrorism and bloodshed.”