Odeh: Netanyahu’s clinging to power harms Arab citizens

Odeh asserted in the Monday meeting that it is time for Israel to treat Palestinian citizens as equals and as a national minority with “real democracy and real citizenship” and not dismissively as “Israeli-Arabs.”

June 28, 2016 23:52
2 minute read.
Joint List MK Ayman Odeh

Joint List MK Ayman Odeh. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)


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Netanyahu is not trustworthy and has harmed the Arab community in Israel on numerous occasions, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh said in an exclusive meeting with The Jerusalem Post editorial staff.

Odeh asserted in the Monday meeting that it is time for Israel to treat Palestinian citizens as equals and as a national minority with “real democracy and real citizenship” and not dismissively as “Israeli-Arabs.”

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One of the problems of the government’s behavior, he said, is that it has vacillated between the support by Moshe Kahlon’s Finance Ministry of financial plans for development and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s verbal attacks on Arabs.

“Beyond just the [rightwing] ideology, if someone is on the Left or the Right, it’s about being believable,” said Odeh, who has been struggling as leader of a party that combines differing agendas among its members to encourage economic solutions and equality in Israel, in reference to Netanyahu.

One of the issues he said he wanted to deal with after being elected in 2015 was a solution to the phenomenon of houses built without permits; a problem particularly in the Negev, but also found throughout the country.

“Fifty thousand of our houses are not recognized, what about planning and new neighborhoods for Arabs?” he asked.

Odeh said he sat with the Interior Ministry and sought a solution to the impasse in which state authorities demolish homes and residents keep building them without permits. On average, he claimed, for every house demolished each three months by the state for being built illegally, another 90 are built without permits, creating an endless cycle that benefits no one.

“We asked for two years to stop any kind of demolition and during those two years that the heads of the municipalities would support a public forum for people to stop building without permits and over that two years when there is a halt on both sides that we would work on regional plans, because the central problem is lack of planning.”

He said the prime minister told him it was an important solution, but at the same time Netanyahu continues to incite against minority citizens, recalling the prime minister accusing Arab Knesset members of supporting Islamic State in the Knesset.

“I said to him, why do you say that, and he dismissed it as ‘it’s not important.’ And I say to myself, ‘This is the prime minister for all of us,” Odeh stated, adding that the Netanyahu’s populist rhetoric is in contrast to his behind-the-scenes behavior.

“This man fights to protect his chair, but at the expense of the intelligence of this country,” Odeh said.

Furthermore, Odeh told the gathering there is hope for a future and for a partnership in creating that future with similar interests.

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