MK Nachman Shai..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A global war against terrorism must be declared, MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) said at an assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Lusaka, Zambia, on Monday.
Shai offered his condolences to the Turkish delegation following Saturday’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, and they offered the same in return, saying they hope Israeli-Turkish relations will be normalized again.
Addressing lawmakers from 150 countries, Shai listed the names of the three Israelis killed in the Istanbul bombing.
“There is no safe place on Earth. New York, London, Paris, Madrid, every capital, every city...is under terrorist threat,” he said. “Until when will we wait, and for what?” Shai said the time has come for a war on terrorism, and called on the assembly to declare “no more terrorism.”
In keeping with the theme of the assembly, connecting young people to democracy, the Zionist Union MK, 69, talked about young people taking to the streets around the world demanding government address the issues important to them, from the Tunisia and Egypt to Greece and Spain, as well as Israel, and said democracy is the best way to turn those demonstrations into political action.
“In undemocratic regimes, by using their political power, established parties make it hard for the young to voice their concerns, which at times may result in the radicalization of the young. A stark example, sad and evil as it may be, is the fact that Daesh [Islamic State] generates a great attraction for many young people in the Arab world,” he stated.
In democracies, however, young people become part of the process, Shai said, pointing to young new MKs and mayors in Israel and citing new parties formed in Greece, Spain and Italy which defeated older ones.
“In government or in parliamentary opposition, politically active young people in democratic countries can better affect policy, as well as realize the constraints and limitations of policy. Thus, democracy is the best method for alleviating inter-generational conflicts,” he added.
Shai also spoke about the strengths of Israeli democracy, saying it has not wavered despite wars and terrorism, and that the next generation is being educated towards democratic values.
MK Sharren Haskel (Likud), 32, the other member of the Knesset delegation, was the youngest lawmaker at the assembly, and submitted candidacy to become a member of the IPU’s Forum of Young Parliamentarians.
Haskel and Shai also took part in a meeting of the IPU’s Committee on Middle East Questions, which the latter characterized as “tense and unpleasant.”
Palestinian MP Azzam al-Ahmed claimed Israel targets women and children, bringing last year’s firebombing of a Palestinian home in Duma as an example.
Shai pointed out that Israel arrested suspects and is continuing its investigation of the attack, and said: “I hope the Palestinian Authority will make the same efforts toward Palestinians who commit crimes against us.”
The Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians reviewed a complaint from MK Haneen Zoabi about her and her Joint List colleagues Jamal Zahalka and Bassel Ghattas being suspended from all Knesset activity except voting.
Shai responded that the MKs have full freedom of speech, but that the Knesset Ethics Committee penalized them for showing they identify with murderers of Israelis, by standing in a moment of silence for Palestinian “martyrs,” in this case terrorists who killed Israelis in recent months.
The Joint List MKs have defended their actions by saying all meetings with Palestinians start with a moment of silence for all “martyrs” in general.
The IPU also decided to hold a conference on water in the Middle East in Jordan in July, and invited Israel to participate.
Shai offered Israel’s expertise on water, technology and energy.