The Knesset has witnessed a heated confrontation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Arab Joint List lawmakers over the latest flare-up in the Gaza Strip and following the killing of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata.
During the commotion, Joint List leader Ahmad Tibi was escorted out of the plenary under the order of Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Arab lawmakers afterwards exited the scene in protest.
Joint List members had expressed their rejection of the assassination of Ata and military operations in Gaza.
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh slammed Netanyahu, accusing him of ordering Ata’s killing for political gain.
“A cynical man who lost two consecutive elections will leave only scorched earth in a desperate attempt to remain in office,” Odeh tweeted. “For ten years he has risen every morning with the aim of deepening the occupation [of the West Bank] and distancing the chances for peace.”
In parallel, a protest was held in Tel Aviv calling for peace between Arabs and Israelis.
Speaking at the protest, lawmaker Aida Touma Suleiman called on Israelis not to believe what they are told, especially by Netanyahu.
“Don't let Netanyahu mislead you, he doesn't want good for you. He only wants security for his position as prime minister,” Touma told the public, labeling those who rushed into backing the assassination as sheep.
Touma further said that political assassinations amount to war crimes.
Netanyahu, for his part, also claimed that during the 2014 war in Gaza, Joint List members requested that the attorney general begin investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by him, then-Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and then-Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Gantz and Yaalon now head the Blue and White party).
“Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is repeated again and again by various elements,” Netanyahu said.
“In my opinion, this serves as a dual threat – to the soldiers and commanders of the Israeli army, who make unprecedented efforts to not hurt civilians, and by threatening the basic human principles that we must all unite and let the fight against terrorism continue,” he added.
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