Odeh to Mogherini: EU must condemn Israel

Arab MKs to accuse Israel of Apartheid at EU

Ayman Odeh shakes hands with Federica Mogherini in Brussles, September 4, 2019 (photo credit: JOINT LIST)
Ayman Odeh shakes hands with Federica Mogherini in Brussles, September 4, 2019
(photo credit: JOINT LIST)
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh asked for the European Union to condemn Israel for passing the Jewish Nation-State Law and demand its immediate repeal Tuesday in a meeting in Brussels with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.
Odeh told Mogherini that the new law harmed Israel’s Arab minority and made it harder to achieve equality.
Odeh told her that the usage of the words “the land of Israel” in the law harms attempts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it includes the West Bank.
A Joint List spokesman said Odeh and Mogherini also discussed socioeconomic discrimination against Arabs citizens of Israel, house demolitions in the Negev, and what he termed anti-Arab incitement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers.
Odeh accused government officials in Israel of trying to get his meeting with Mogherini canceled. He said he was grateful to Mogherini for meeting with him.
“The EU’s backing is crucial in our struggle to get the Nation-State Law canceled,” Odeh said.
“When the rights of minorities are trampled on in a democracy, it is not an internal issue. I was happy to see the foreign policy chief shares our concern that the law harms Arab citizens, Israeli democracy and the possibility of forming a Palestinian state and achieving peace.”
But an EU spokesperson downplayed the importance of the meeting and did not confirm the impression Odeh received from Mogherini.
“The meeting was requested by Mr. Odeh several months ago,” the spokesperson said. “[Mogherini] regularly meets government representatives and parliamentarians of partner countries, both from the government and opposition.
"Israel is no exception, being a close partner to the EU for many years, with whom the EU has a strong relationship based on dialogues at multiple levels, with all facets of society and with political leaders from across the spectrum.”
The EU spokesperson said a wide range of issues were discussed in the meeting, including EU-Israel relations, the Middle East peace process and domestic developments in Israel, including the Nation-State Law.
“[Mogherini] took note of the views of Mr. Odeh on the matter,” the EU spokesperson said. “The Nation-State Law is first and foremost a matter of how Israel chooses to define itself, and we fully respect the internal Israeli debate on this.
The EU values Israel’s commitment to the shared values of democracy and human rights, which have characterized our long standing and fruitful relations, and would not want to see these values being put in question or even threatened.
"Democracy and equality, including equal rights for minorities, are key tenets that define our societies. The respect for human rights and fundamental principles are and will remain a central part of the EU-Israel partnership. We will continue to monitor the implications of this law in practice.”
Seven Joint List MKs will hold a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday under the headline: “The crawling apartheid: What Europe should do about the Jewish Nation-State Law.”
The MKs arrived Monday night for meetings with EU leaders from across the political spectrum to encourage them to take action against the Nation-State Law.
The delegation includes Odeh and MKs Masud Gnaim, Jamal Zahalka, Ahmad Tibi, Aida Touma-Sliman, Yousef Jabareen and Taleb Abu Arar and Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center, who accused police of assaulting him when he was arrested during a demonstration in Haifa on May 18.
The Joint List will seek EU member states’ support for a draft resolution condemning the Nation-State Law at the United Nations General Assembly. The MKs are also set to raise the issues of housing demolitions in the Negev and call upon the EU and its member states to include the organizations Lehava, Tag Mehir and Kahane Chai in its list of terrorist organizations.
“The heads of the Joint List factions announced that they would demand official recognition of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel as an indigenous and national collective, in conformity with European and international treaties and declarations,” the party said.
“Such recognition would allow the EU to maintain direct relations with representatives of the Arab minority, thus enhancing the protection of the latter’s rights and livelihood.”