(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Joint List plans to skip US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Knesset on Monday.
The bloc of Arab parties voted on Wednesday to stay out of the plenum, in effect joining the Palestinian Authority in boycotting Pence’s visit to the region in response to US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh said the snub is meant “to relay a clear message to the government in the US and the world that there are citizens here who firmly oppose Trump’s declaration, and to clarify that the US lost its role as sole mediator in negotiations.
“West Jerusalem will be recognized by the world as the capital of Israel right after the Israeli government recognizes east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state,” Odeh said.
MK Ahmad Tibi, chairman of the Joint List’s Jerusalem Committee, said Pence is a “representative of a government that totally adopted the narrative of the Israeli occupation, including the matter of al-Quds,” Jerusalem in Arabic.
Tibi said Pence was one of the engines behind Trump’s decision, and the US administration is part of the problem, not the solution.
“Boycotting the speech is a demonstrative step to politically protest the [American] government’s dangerous stance,” he continued.
“Pence and Trump ignored the national rights of the Palestinian people and hurt Christian and Muslim Palestinians.”
Joint List MKs have snubbed other foreign dignitaries’ speeches, and on other occasions have heckled them.
When then-Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper addressed the Knesset in 2014, Tibi and other Arab MKs told him he should go sit with the Likud.
However, the Knesset changed its rules earlier this year, so that when foreign leaders address the plenum, lawmakers can be thrown out after only one interruption, instead of the usual Knesset standard, which is three.