House Committee to discuss removal of Ayman Odeh from Knesset

Despite probes, legal experts believe the Joint List head cannot be charged for incitement for his call for Arab-Israeli officers to disobey orders.

Hadash party leader Ayman Odeh at the Knesset, 2019. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Hadash party leader Ayman Odeh at the Knesset, 2019.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Knesset House Committee will convene "as soon as possible" to discuss Likud MK Shlomo Karhi's request to dismiss Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh from the Knesset, head of the committee MK Nir Orbach announced on Tuesday.

Karhi submitted the request to remove Odeh from the Knesset following the latter's call for Arab-Israelis serving in Israel's security establishment to lay down their weapons and disobey orders.

The Likud MK's motion, which would require the signatures of 70 MKs and the support of 90 MKs in a vote in the Knesset plenum, had already garnered significant support from a number of MKs, both in the coalition and the opposition. 

While the entire opposition, bar the Joint List, is expected to support the dismissal, even coalition parties such as Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu announced the entire faction will support Karhi's motion.

Odeh, who doubled down on the statement made in a video released on social media, did claim he directed the call specifically towards Arab-Israeli security officers serving in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israeli police officers stand guard outside the Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem, December 4, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)Israeli police officers stand guard outside the Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem, December 4, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai all expressed pride and support of Arab-Israeli security officers following Odeh's comments, which they labeled as "inciting."

"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," Odeh said in the video statement, filmed near Jerusalem's Old City's Damascus Gate.

"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.

Following his remarks, police contacted the State Attorney's Office to check whether there is ground for incitement. Israel Police believe that Odeh's remarks have the potential to cause a revolt and a boycott and incite people against police.

Despite the ongoing police probe, legal experts told Maariv on Tuesday they believe no legal action can be taken against the Joint List head for his comments as it is enough to prosecute him for incitement.