'US part of the problem, not part of the solution in Israeli-Arab dispute,' Joint List chief says

Ayman Odeh returned to Israel after a much-publicized trip to the United States.

December 17, 2015 19:57
1 minute read.
Joint List head Ayman Odeh shouts slogans near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Joint List head Ayman Odeh shouts slogans near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)


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The head of the predominantly Arab Joint List faction in parliament said on Thursday that the United States “is part of the problem, not part of the solution” when it comes to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Speaking just days after returning from a visit to Washington, Joint List head Ayman Odeh told Channel 10 talk show host Yaron London that “if the United States really wanted to make it happen, it could force” a two-state settlement between Israel and Palestine.

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Odeh devoted the bulk of his trip to the US to meetings, media interviews, and public conferences. He told London that the goal of his visit was to raise awareness among Americans of the Israeli Arab efforts to gain equality in domestic society.

“My message was that we are 20 percent of the population in this country, but decisions on war and peace pass over us,” he said. “You can’t have real peace, democracy, and social justice without adequate input from the Arab population. We are important.”

“I went there to speak about the efforts made by the Arabs and the institutionalized discrimination against the Arab population,” the Joint List head said.

Odeh was critical of the Obama administration, which he said played a key role in the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The lawmaker added that he believed Washington had an interest in the conflict’s perpetuation.

“During the last meeting between [US President Barack] Obama and [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu], it seemed as if Obama raised his hands in despair, but in practice he gave [Israel] money for the army and for defense,” Odeh said. “This notion that Obama wants to advance a two-state solution but Netanyahu is the problem – I don’t believe it.”

“If the US really wanted it, it could force it to happen,” Odeh said of a two-state solution. “But it is selling weapons and dividing countries in the region, and it is the only one talking to all of the governments in the Middle East.”

“The US is part of the problem, not part of the solution,” he said.

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