Joint List leader Ayman Odeh came out against the Western attack in Syria on Saturday, sparking an angry response from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“The American, British and French leadership and their partners from the Gulf States and foremost Saudi Arabia, put together are weaker than the will of the Syrian people,” Odeh wrote on Facebook. “I am with Syria against the American attack.”Odeh is the leader of Hadash, the Arab-Jewish communist party that is part of the Joint List, which organized a rally against the attack in front of the defunct US consulate in Haifa. The party condemned the attack and said that the US has a history of “aggression and bullying in the region, with the excuse of [destroying] weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be false.Erdan slammed Odeh, taking to Facebook to send him an open letter calling for him to resign from the Knesset.“I understand you are going through difficult days. Your friend [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is under attack. The whole Western world is uniting against Assad’s evil regime in order to prevent him from killing children with chemical weapons, but you’re standing with him. What impressive loyalty,” Erdan wrote.The minister said Odeh “sits in the Knesset... supporting the cruel ruler of Syria and the axis of evil that wants to destroy Israel. From this moment, every MK who cooperates with you, every organization that kisses up and invites you to an event must understand that you are collaborating with the enemy, no less.”“Don’t talk to me when you see me in the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, because you won’t get a reaction,” Erdan added. “You are a detestable person, and I am unwilling to speak with those who support shooting chemical weapons at innocent children.”Others in the Knesset came out in support of the attack in Syria. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said: “I commend [US] President [Donald] Trump, [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron and [British] Prime Minister [Theresa] May who led the attack on Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. Despite the limited nature of the strike, after a period of silence the civilized world sent a clear message to Assad that it won’t remain silent while he murders children.”According to Lapid, “The real test now is the coalition’s ability to maintain the military and diplomatic pressure on the dictator from Damascus. Israel will continue to act against the Iranian presence in Syria and won’t take orders from any regional actor when it comes to our vital security interests.”Deputy Minister Michael Oren said the attack on Syria is “necessary for the security of the State of Israel, the Middle East and the whole world.”“This proves that President Trump is ready to stand behind the redline he set on the use of chemical weapons... this is a sharp, clear message: The US won’t allow [Assad] to continue behaving in this way,” Oren said. “The fact that President Trump successfully put together a joint Western attack with the UK and France against Assad’s chemical weapon targets is another impressive achievement that strengthens his power and the legitimacy of his actions.”
U.S. air strikes on Damascus released by U.S. Department of Defense, April 14, 2018 (Reuters)