Arab MKs slam IDF Gaza operation

Claim IDF planned Gaza operation in advance of Shalit abduction.

taleb a sanaa 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
taleb a sanaa 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Tensions between Jewish and Arab MKs, already strained since the abduction of Cpl. Gilad Shalit nine days ago, reached a breaking point Monday with a series of no confidence motions filed by the Arab legislators. Although several opposition parties had submitted no confidence motions, all but the Arab factions withdrew them at the last moment. The remaining motion accused the IDF of planning its Gaza operation in advance of Shalit's kidnapping, and of using the current crises as an excuse to re-enter the Strip. The no confidence motion was rejected by a vote of 76 against, 10 in favor, and three abstentions. "The government is not interested in a diplomatic solution. The operation has the American go-ahead... the green light to harm civilians," MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) said Monday. "The prisoners should be freed," said MK Taleb a-Sanaa of United Arab List. "Making a trade for the soldier will help keep the peace." A-Sanaa said he believed negotiations would continue and the soldier would eventually be released as part of an exchange, adding that Israel was simply putting off the inevitable by refusing to agree. "Israel approached this situation with force, but this does not need to be the case," a-Sanaa said. Wasal Taha (Balad) accused Israel of making things worse by attacking Gaza to retrieve Shalit instead of negotiating. "Israel endangered [Shalit's] life by carrying out these operations," Taha said. "The Palestinians offered them other choices and they chose the hard one." He encouraged Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to consider negotiations, saying it would be the "right choice." Earlier in the day, nearly all the Knesset's Arab members took part in a protest opposite the Ofer military prison, north of Jerusalem, calling for the end of military operations in Gaza and the release of the Hamas parliamentarians arrested by security forces last week. "You are collaborators of terror, you encourage terror," MK Moshe Sharoni (Gil Pensioners Party) said in response. MK Alex Miller (Israeli Beiteinu) also lashed out at the Arab MKs, saying that any legislator unhappy with the arrest of Hamas legislators should go to Gaza and replace them. "If the soldier is freed only by the release of the prisoners, it sets a dangerous precedent for the peace process," said MK Majallie Whbee (Kadima). He said there should be no connection between freeing security prisoners and releasing Shalit. "Anyone who really wanted to talk peace would find another way to negotiate," he said. Nissan Slomiansky (NU-NRP) said he thought it would be a mistake to give in to the demands of terrorists. He said that whether negotiations were held or not, releasing security prisoners would only make things worse. "The more you give, the more their appetite grows," Slomiansky said. "The best way to deal with terror is not to give in, because then no one will win."