Arab members of Knesset heckled on Monday Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his speech to the Knesset after he failed to mention anything about the occupation and the settlements, instead only criticising the critics of Israel’s occupation.
Harper insisted that his country is a strong ally of Israel and described all boycott campaigns against Israel as the “new face of anti-Semitism”. He noted that his country does not support any European boycott of Israel based on the settlements. At that moment, Israel MKs stood up to applaud him.
The Canadian prime minister criticised what he said is “selective criticism” of Israel by international bodies such as the UN and the UN Human Rights Council. He said that Israel is “particularly” targeted and expressed his sadness that some in the international community still doubt Israel’s right to exist.
This was his first visit since taking office in 2006 and Harper expressed pride with his country’s strong relations with Israel. At the same time, he criticised Palestinians, saying that: “The ones who want a Palestinian state first have to give up terrorism.”
He affirmed that he would support the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel “if Israel recognised it”.
Then, he praised Israel and described it as the sole democracy in the Middle East. “A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he said.
At this point, the two Arab MKs, Ahmed Al-Tibi and Taleb Abu Arar, heckled Harper and asked him why he did not speak about the occupation and Israeli apartheid. They cited the situation for the Bedouin in the Negev, as the Israeli government has been pushing them out of their villages.
Al-Tibi told Harper that he “should be sitting there, with the Likud,” pointing with his figure to the party’s benches in the Knesset. He also asked the Canadian prime minister about his views on the Israeli settlements, requesting for him not to misguide the people.
For his part, Abu Arar also told Harper that he well deserves to have a place in the Likud benches in the Knesset. Video shots were broadcast showing guards trying to supress Abu Arar, who said: “This is the racism against Arabs. It is the apartheid against the Bedouin.”
Before the Arab MKs left the chamber, Netanyahu commented that in Israel people live together in peace. Al-Tibi heckled him saying: “This is our homeland.”
During his trip to Ramallah, Harper was asked why his country did not vote for Palestine as a non-member state at the UN in 2012. Palestinian Authority President Abbas defended him, saying that there are “differences” with Ottawa on the question of Palestine.
Abbas added that these “differences” should be resolved through discussion, and that the Canadians are entitled to their own views.