(photo credit: KNESSET)
Several Arab MKs came out in support of Zionist Union MK Zouheir Bahloul on Sunday, after his faction harshly criticized him for refusing to call a Palestinian who stabbed an IDF soldier a terrorist.
MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) wrote on Twitter: “I am not happy for Zouheir Bahloul’s misfortune. From now on, every ‘moderate’ should know that the racist democracy of our masters will only accept him if he is an informer and a dish rag lacking an identity and dignity.”
Last week, Bahloul said he would not characterize the Palestinian man who stabbed a soldier in Hebron on March 24 as a terrorist, because he attacked a soldier and not a civilian.
Several Zionist Union MKs, including party leader Isaac Herzog, condemned Bahloul’s comments. Bahloul, the only Arab lawmaker in the Zionist Union, repeated the statement on Saturday, and MK Eitan Cabel, an ally of Herzog in the party, said Bahloul does not belong in the faction anymore.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen justified Bahloul’s comments and slammed the Zionist Union.
“International law recognizes the right of a nation under occupation to resist the occupation,” Jabareen said. “Young Palestinians are victims of the occupation whose basic rights are negated and whose lives have been made miserable for five decades.”
Jabareen added that “instead of providing an alternative to the reality of occupation and the cycle of bloodshed, the Zionist Union is lining up with the Netanyahu government’s policies and an atmosphere of belligerence, ultra-nationalism and militancy.”
According to the Joint List lawmaker, the government is the terrorist in the story, because it is destroying the chances for peace, and whoever wants peace should “resist the presence of soldiers in the West Bank.”
MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) said that the Zionist Union “showed its real face in relation to Arab society.
“Until now, it was quiet, and now the cat is out of the bag,” he said. “Zouheir Bahloul stated a historic fact, that the presence of IDF soldiers in Hebron is one of occupation, but members of the Zionist Union are not interested in the truth, all they want is to show that they, God forbid, do not love Arabs.”
Frej said the lesson from the incident is that “true cooperation” between Jews and Arabs can only come on the “true Left,” and that Zionist Union is “a centrist party winking at the Right.”
Meanwhile, Likud MK Nava Boker complained to the Knesset Ethics Committee about Bahloul, saying that he is legitimizing attacks on IDF soldiers.
“No verbal tricks will hide the fact that an MK from the party called ‘Zionist Union’... not only said that those who harm [IDF soldiers] are not terrorists, he continued his incitement on Saturday, claiming that ‘soldiers are the sign of the occupation for the Palestinians,’ meaning that it is legitimate to harm them, because Palestinian terrorists are freedom fighters and the soldiers are the ones preventing them [from being free],” Boker wrote in the ethics complaint.
Boker said Bahloul’s statements are “vicious lies, deviant incitement and most of all audacious,” and called for the Ethics Committee to suspend him.