The head of the Joint List in the Israeli parliament urged all Arab citizens of Israel serving in Israel’s occupation forces to quit, slamming their service as “humiliating” and a “disgrace”.
“It’s a disgrace that a young Arab or the parents of a young Arab would agree to enlist and serve in the security forces, which are actually forces of the occupation,” said Knesset member Ayman Odeh in a video filmed at occupied East Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.
“I call on those who have enlisted, who are a small minority, between 1 and 1.5 per cent, throw your weapons in their faces. We don’t need to be with them, not part of this crime,” he added, “but rather on the same side as our people, in order to end the occupation.”
This comes amid the nightly attacks against Palestinians a week into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by Israeli soldiers that have raised concern about a repeat of violence that erupted last year, Reuters reports.
The amphitheatre-style plaza outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate is a popular spot for Palestinians to meet after breaking their daily fast. Vendors roll carts of snacks and juice into the square. Palestinian youth at times perform acrobatics to cheers from the crowd.
“Recently, I have met with many groups from occupied Arab Jerusalem. Young Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have told me that they are being harmed and humiliated. It is important for me to tell you from here, the Damascus Gate, that it is a humiliation for one of our sons to join the security forces,” said the Arab MK.
He added that Arab Israelis who join the Israeli security forces were “humiliating our people, humiliating our families and humiliating everyone who comes to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
In response, Israel’s far-right Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked took to Twitter to reject any possibility that the coalition could partner with Odeh’s Joint List Party.
She wrote: “Ayman Odeh incites against the State of Israel and its institutions. We won’t make agreements with him. His place is outside Israel’s Knesset.”
The Joint List is an Arab majority coalition composed of three factions: Communist Arab-Jewish Hadash Party, the Palestinian nationalist Balad Party and Ta’al, led by Ahmad Tibi.