A member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has condemned the decision to look at ways to enlist Arab Christians and Bedouin into the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Dr Basel Ghattas said that the decision by the Knesset’s Committee for Equal Sharing of the Burden is one of several attempts by the Israeli government to “divide and rule” its Palestinian citizens.
“This is intended to strip Christians and Bedouin of their Arab-Palestinian identity,” he claimed, “and turn them into sectarian minorities.” According to the MP, Israel is capitalising on the presence of some people who defy the national consensus and commitment towards the Palestinian cause and people.
He noted that the participation of the Christian Draft Forum, which is backed by an extreme Zionist organisation, in the Knesset burden committee “proves once again” that the forum does not represent the Arab Christian community. “Christians hold on to their Palestinian identity and reject all forms of enlisting in the Israeli occupation army or the civil service that Israel promotes to direct Arab youth away from their national identity and create divisions within the Arab Israeli community,” argued Ghattas.
Adding that he is confident that the Palestinian people are able to deter such desperate attempts despite Israel’s dedication to such an underhand project, the MP pointed out that the Israeli government and the prime minister support the Christian draft plan. He called on political parties, religious figures and all other political entities to denounce and resist this dangerous move.
Dr Ghattas also suggested a national conference against the plan, saying that he will begin preparations for such an event immediately. He highlighted the important role that can be played by youth activism in order to preserve Palestinian and Arab identity.