Zahalka: 'Israel killing as many as possible'

Balad MK says leaders are conspiring to hide the truth from the nation's citizens.

Zahalka  224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy [file])
Zahalka 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy [file])
Israel's leaders are conspiring to hide the truth from its own citizens, MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) charged on Sunday, as Arab lawmakers joined protests against the current IDF operations in the Gaza Strip. "If the Israeli government wanted to, they could reach a cease-fire agreement with the Palestinians right now. The Israelis are hiding, even from their own people, the options that are on the table, so they can make it seem as through they have no choice but to kill dozens of Palestinians," said Zahalka, who has maintained ties to Palestinian leaders in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "There have been offers of a cease-fire, with several Arab states in the region mediating. Israel could stop the rocket fire right now, as long as it stops its own operations. But they refuse to do this," Zahalka said. Hundreds of people took to the streets Sunday at several sites nationwide to protest against the IDF's operation in Gaza. Seventy Palestinians and two IDF soldiers have been killed in the past 48 hours, while dozens of rockets and missiles have hit the western Negev and Ashkelon. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and Arab political parties agreed to hold a joint demonstration in Umm el-Fahm on Tuesday, and drafted a proposal for national unity between Hamas and Fatah. Several MKs, including Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List) and Muhammad Barakei (Hadash), called for "Arab unity" among Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. "We will continue to be divided, and forced to fight one another, unless we come together," Tibi said. MK Dov Henin (Hadash) called on Israelis to protest against the deterioration of the situation on Israel's southern front. "The lessons of the Second Lebanon War have not been internalized. We must stop the shooting at once and prevent unnecessary suffering on both sides of the border," Henin said at a rally in Tel Aviv. Israel Beiteinu and Likud lawmakers accused the Arab factions of treason. "This is a time when the true colors of the Arab parties become clear and vibrant," said MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu). "Arab MKs have shown, once again, that their hearts are not with the Israeli people." On Monday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to address the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where MKs are likely to ask questions about the IDF's operations in Gaza. The plenum will also discuss the violence in Gaza, and the rocket and missile attacks from the Strip, during debate on two no-confidence motions that have been filed over the government's failure to secure the safety of Israel's southern residents.