Arab Member of the Knesset Dr Jamal Zahalka, who heads the National Democratic Alliance bloc in the Israeli parliament, was expelled from an Interior Knesset Committee session by force yesterday after his removal was requested by the Chairperson of the Committee, far-right Likud Knesset Member Miri Regev.
This came after a heated confrontation in the session which began after the committee viewed video footage, presented by the commander of the police operations, of clashes in Al-Aqsa Mosque which saw young people as they threw stones and firecrackers at Israeli police.
The far-right MKs Miri Regev and Moshe Feiglin of Likud, and Orit Struck and Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home party, began yelling that Muslims must be prevented from praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque, to which Zahalka responded with: “How can you have the audacity to talk about building the temple? This is a sacred place for Muslims and will remain so.
“And how can you talk about the construction of a holy place while your hands are covered with blood? These are Palestinian lands under international law and you are an occupying power and you do not have any rights in East Jerusalem. Get out of it! You are violating international law and you must be punished for it, not arrest the youth who are resisting the occupation!”
In the aftermath, the far-right Likud MKs labelled Zahalka a “provocateur” who “supports terrorism”. He and was told: “You’re a terrorist. Haters of Israel have no place here in this Knesset. Arab representatives in the Knesset are traitors and their presence in the Knesset is a Trojan horse.”
MK Moti Yogev turned to Zahalka and told him: “Get out of here. You have no place here among us,” to which Zahalka replied: “We were here before you, and we will remain after you. You get out you blood-thirsty man! Your hands are covered in blood!”
After Zahalka refused to retreat his statements, the Chairperson Regev decided to remove him from the committee session.
Zahalka objected the decision, pointing out that he was not given three warnings in accordance with the procedures. Regev insisted on having Zahalka removed and summoned the guards who escorted Zahalka out of the meeting. In the meantime, Zahalka said: “You are murderers and criminals! Have you not had enough killing? Your hands are covered in blood!”