MK Odeh: The Struggle of the Arab Citizens in Israel Is a Political One

Two Israel Border Police Officers were shot and killed on Friday morning, July 14, in a coordinated attack on the Temple Mount compound (Haram al-Sharif) in Jerusalem. Another police officer was wounded. The three assailants who perpetrated the attack, Arab citizens of Israel from the city of Umm al-Fahem in the north of the country, were shot dead by additional police who were at the scene.

Paramedics nearby an entrance to the compound where the deadly incident took place in Jerusalem on Friday, July 14

Paramedics nearby an entrance to the compound where the deadly incident took place in Jerusalem on Friday, July 14 (Photo: Magen David Adom)

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, condemned the attack and told Nazareth’s Al-Shams radio that “the Arab citizens’ struggle is political and unarmed. We oppose any use of weapons among our youth.” However, Odeh accused PM Benjamin Netanyahu of deliberately attempting to transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious one: “Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu is the one who wants to turn the conflict from a political one into one that is religious, and this is why he sponsors provocative visits by settlers to the compound of the [al-Aqsa] mosque,” MK Odeh demanded the reopening of the Temple Mount, which was temporarily closed after the attack. “The government must respect the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and allow prayers there. The occupation is the root of the problem, and we will fight it in a political and determined manner,” he said.

The murdered police officers were identified as Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan, both from Arab-Druze villages in northern Israel. Sitawe, 30, was from the town of Maghar, in northern Israel. Shnaan, 22, from the Arab-Druze village of Hurfeish, also in northern Israel, was son of former Labor MK Shachiv Shnaan. The three assailants were identified as Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Jabareen (29), Mohammed Hamed Abd Al-Latif Jabareen (19) and Mohammed Ahmed Mafdal Jabareen (19), all from Um el-Fahem.

MK Odeh warned that delaying the renewal of prayers at Haram al-Sharif/ Temple Mount would only exacerbate the situation. He also said he believed that coverage of the attack by Israeli media was not being given the prominence due to it and attributed this to the fact that the victims were Arab-Druze and not Jews.