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Monday, July 03, 2006

Israel's Political Leaders Rocked by Their Emotional Responses to a Tenuous Situation

MK Sharoni baits Arab MK , says Israel should 'obliterate' Gaza, during an intense emotional moment at talks. The frustration for Israel as it is admonished for its part is not sinking in well with the Israeli leadership.

Read as follows:

Shouting matches broke out in the Knesset on Monday afternoon during a charged debate on three no-confidence motions filed by Arab parties regarding Israel's military response to the kidnapping of a soldier by Palestinian militants.

The no-confidence motions were defeated by a large majority after all opposition parties - with the exception of Arab parties - supported the coalition.

The no-confidence motion brought forth by Hadash said the Israel Defense Forces operations in Gaza and the arrests of Palestinian parliamentarians were planned in advance and added that the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit cannot be seen as a catalyst for these wide Israeli actions.

During the debate, MK Moshe Sharoni (Gil) directed heated barbs at his Israeli Arab colleagues.
"You are cooperating with terror. You are supporting the terrorists. You place is not here. Go there. Where were you when they murdered an 18.5-year-old boy in Ramallah? Did you say anything then? You kept quiet. Where are you when they are fire Qassams day after day at Sderot? We need to obliterate Gaza and call it the City of Murderers, the City of Terrorists."

Yisrael Beiteinu MK Alex Miller also hinted that Arab Knesset members should move to Gaza.

"I think that those MKs who were disturbed by the fact that we arrested parliament members from Palestina can go there and take their places. They will certainly be welcomed warmly," Miller said.

United Arab List MK Ahmed Tibi said "it is not possible for tanks and mortars to bombard refugee camps and to say: 'We hurt children and civilians by accident.' All the recent air forces attacks in Gaza were carried out due to a lack of choice? You blow up a vehicle on Salah a-Din Street out of lack of choice?"

Hadash MK Mohammed Barakeh said the IDF operations in Gaza are reminicsient of Operation Peace for Galilee that evolved into the Lebanon war.

Kadima MK Ruhama Avraham said to Barakeh: "Call for the release of the soldier" to which he replied "I won't do anything at your request."

Arab MK calls on Hamas to extend deadline
United Arab List Chairman MK Talab al-Sana called Monday evening on Hamas and two other militant groups responsible for the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit to extend the 6 A.M. Tuesday deadline it gave Israel to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners or "pay the consequences"

He also urged the government to end military operations in Gaza and suggested Arab MKs act as mediators in an effort to end the growing crisis.

Israeli Arab leaders demonstrated earlier Monday opposite a military prison calling for the release of the Hamas parliamentarians arrested by Israel last week.

The protest was held opposite the Ofer military prison, located north of Jerusalem adjacent to the Ramallah suburb of Beituniya, where thousands of Palestinian security prisoners are held.

Nearly all Arab Knesset members participated in the protest together with relatives of some of the detainees who are Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.

Chairman of the Israeli Arab Higher Follow-Up Committee, Shweiki Khatib, said during the protest that "the Israeli government is trying to create Palestinian leaders who fit its own parameters."

Khatib said the demonstration was meant to open Israel's eyes.

"We are acting from a unique place. We are the part of the Palestinian people who stayed on our land within the borders of the State of Israel. We are acting with the understanding that the occupation is destructive. We were always a shofar sounding the truth," Khatib said.

All Israeli Arab MKs slammed the government's policies and each of the Arab parties is attempting to act against these policies.

Islamic Movement MKs Sheikh Ibrahim Tzartzur and Sheikh Abbas Zaqur visit family members of arrested Hamas officials who live in East Jerusalem.

Balad party Chairman MK Azmi Bishara appeared live last week on Syrian satellite television and said the kidnapping of Shalit at the Kerem Shalom outpost was a sacrificial operation carried out by Palestinian activists.

"The context is the occupation, the context is the failure of the disengagement. We will not dance to the Israeli drum," Bishara said on a live broadcast immediately after Israel Air Force warplanes buzzed the palace of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Despite the protest and the attempts to effect public opinion, sources in the Israeli Arab Higher Follow-Up Committee admit their influence on the Israeli and Palestinian sides is not significant.
Most Israeli Arab Knesset members have no working ties with Hamas despite their general call on Israel to respect the voting choices of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also does not host Israeli Arab leaders as often as did his predecessor Yasser Arafat.

"Both sides are uninterested in our help," said Israeli Arab Higher Follow-Up Committee spokesman Abed Enbatawi.

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