In a surprising reaction to a report which condemned Israel, Kuwaiti Speaker of Parliament Marzouq Al-Ghanim called Tel Aviv’s delegation “brutal occupiers” and called for them to leave the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) session in Russia last week.
The Israeli delegation, headed by Nachman Shai, had objected to a report submitted to the IPU which documented Israel’s repeated aggression against the Palestinian people and their parliamentarians.
“I say to the brutal occupier, if you do not feel shame, then do as you please,” Al-Ghanim said, adding that the Israeli delegate “represents the most dangerous form of terrorism; state terrorism”.
The video of Al-Ghanim’s poignant address has since gone viral on social media. It was clear that Arabs had longed to see such a position adopted and expressed by an Arab leader.
Returning to a hero’s welcome, Al-Ghanim was honoured by the Emir of Kuwait and its people. His words represented the conscience of the Arab nations who had waited a long time to hear a senior Arab leader vocally criticising the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people.
This was clear when Arabs lauded Turkish now-President, then-Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he criticised the late Israeli President Shimon Peres at a Davos debate in 2009. Erdogan challenged false information given by Peres and said: “You kill people. I remember the children who died on beaches.”
His words came shortly after Israel’s deadly “Operation Cast Lead” offensive in Gaza which had killed 1,300 Palestinians.
Arriving in Ankara after abruptly leaving the Davos debates, Erdogan too received a hero’s welcome.
Chief of the Arab League Amr Moussa was sat on the same stage as Erdogan and Peres and did not have the courage to say a word.
Today, it is not only Al-Ghanim from Kuwait, but also the representative of the Tunisian Parliament, Sulaf Al-Qusantini, who took up against Israel’s aggressions. She had spoken before the Kuwaiti delegate.
“The Palestinian MPs, who are forcefully locked up inside the Israeli jails, suffer different kinds of torture that are rejected by international conventions, including administrative detention and other forms of torture that violate parliamentary immunity,” she said.
“The brutal entity [Israel] locked up two million residents of Gaza under a siege which is the worst and longest siege in the history of mankind… Ask Rima Khalaf, former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) about the report which said that this entity is an apartheid system. Ask Palestine Committee in the EU Parliament, which was prevented from accessing those locked up in Gaza or in Israeli jails.”
The Tunisian MP mentioned the case of the Israeli occupation’s arrest of Palestinian MP Samira Al-Halayqa, noting that her parliamentary immunity was not respected by the State of Israel which claims that it is a state of law.
In addition, the Jordanian MP Wafa Bani Mustafa slammed the Israeli occupation calling it a “terrorist state”. During the same meeting, she courageously said: “These honourable Palestinians are defending their country and their children and are using the simplest means against the occupying state, which uses all means of force and oppression against them.”
Bani Mustafa highlighted the case of Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar, who has been held under administrative detention (without charge or trial) since July. “It means that she was not indicted or exposed to any legal process,” the Jordanian official explained.
It is not only Arabs who have been enraged by Israel’s crimes. When the Israeli ambassador delivered an outrageous speech at UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland, in July and asked attendees to stand for a minute’s silence for Holocaust victims, the Cuban ambassador called for another minute’s silence for Palestinian victims of Israel’s brutal occupation.
Such actions are increasing, as is international support for the rights of Palestinian people. The growing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is also helping spread awareness of Israel’s atrocities.
With the help of social media, we are turning a corner on the Israeli narrative and it’s turning their stories upside down.