Arab members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, have called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements about the status of the Arab minority in the Palestinian "attempts to mislead and deceive". Netanyahu made his claims in a speech to a joint session of the US Congress in Washington.
According to the President of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, Mohammad Baraka MK, Netanyahu is blind to the reality of the Middle East and the Palestinian people. "His claims that we, the Arab citizens in Israel, enjoy what he believes is democracy," said Mr Baraka, "have been made at a time when he leads Israeli racism in its ugliest forms."
Mr Baraka said that the Zionist state is "the only country in the world which gives preferential treatment to one ethnic group of citizens, the Jews, while practising racial discrimination against its Arab Palestinian citizens." He added that Israel has, therefore, "been occupying, repressing and torturing, while denying the human rights and national identity of, a whole nation for more than sixty years." The leader of such a state, he charged, "has no right to speak about democracy".
Members of Congress "must believe that we are living in a state like prosperous Switzerland" claimed Ahmed Tibi MK. "After the show put on by Netanyahu in Washington, who would believe that Israel has forty laws which discriminate against its own Arab citizens, who have second-class citizenship and live under the permanent threat of deportation and exclusion?"
On the issue of the recognition of a Palestinian state, Mr Tibi believes that the Israeli Prime Minister has led the political process to a "dead end that will bring a disaster to everyone, including the Israeli public". In such a situation, he said, an approach to the United Nations for official recognition of a Palestinian state is something "that can not be prevented".