Police probing MK Odeh's call for Arab police officers to disobey orders

The chairman of the Joint List published a video in which he told all new Arab-Israeli police recruits to lay down their arms.

AYMAN ODEH, leader of the Joint List – he holds a key to the castle, one that only Benny Gantz could use (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
AYMAN ODEH, leader of the Joint List – he holds a key to the castle, one that only Benny Gantz could use
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed pride in Arab IDF soldiers and police officers on Monday morning, after Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh called on Arab members of Israeli security forces to lay down their arms and go against orders on Sunday.

"I am proud of Arab soldiers in the IDF, Arab soldiers in Israel Police and all members of the security forces, from all religions and sectors, who protect us in these days," tweeted Bennett.

"Young Palestinians with Israeli citizenship told me that they were harmed and humiliated," said Odeh in his opening remarks on Sunday, adding that "it is humiliating for one of our sons to join the security forces of the occupation. The forces here are humiliating our people, humiliating our families and humiliating everyone who comes to pray."

"Our position is that we will be with our people to end the murderous occupation so that Palestine will rise, Palestinian flags will be hoisted on the walls of Jerusalem and peace will spread on the land of peace. The young people must not join the occupying forces. Throw the weapon in their face and tell them that our place is not with you. We will not be part of the injustice and the crime," he added.

AYMAN ODEH, leader of the Joint List, gestures as he hands out pamphlets during an an election campaign event in Tira. (credit: REUTERS)AYMAN ODEH, leader of the Joint List, gestures as he hands out pamphlets during an an election campaign event in Tira. (credit: REUTERS)

"Our place is with justice and truth - against the occupation," he said. "Our place is the natural place, a noble part of the Palestinian Arab people, and in a just war to bring an end to the criminal occupation. For peace to rest on the land of peace."

Following his remarks, the police contacted the State Attorney's Office to check whether there was incitement. The police believe that MK Odeh's remarks have the potential to cause a revolt and a boycott and incite people against the police.

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi began contacting other MKs on Monday in an effort to garner support to impeach Odeh due to his statements. Such a move would require the signatures of 70 MKs and the support of 90 MKs in a vote in the Knesset plenum.

Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiban rejected Odeh's statements, telling KAN Reshet Bet that the MK "lives in an entirely different republic."

"He needs to support this government. He also needs to help the Arab population that is bleeding out. There's no other way," said Sahiban.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev called Odeh's statements "outrageous, dangerous and irresponsible."

"The service of Israeli Arabs in the police is a symbol of coexistence and integration," said Bar Lev. "The late Amir Khoury is an Israeli hero. He was an Arab-Israeli. Amir is a symbol of coexistence and integration. Police officers from Arab society are an important part of the police in the fight against crime and terrorism, and this trend will continue to intensify."

On Monday afternoon, Odeh's office published Hebrew subtitles to the video, claiming the Joint List head only called on Arab police officers serving in east Jerusalem to disobey orders. According to the subtitles, Odeh did not direct his speech at Arab-Israeli police officers serving in the "civilian police."