A far-right, racist lawmaker called on Friday, July 3, for the expulsion from the Knesset of the head of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) after the latter attended a press conference in Ramallah. The day before, MK Odeh sat in on a press conference at which rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announced they were joining forces to thwart US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” and the plans of Israel’s far-right government to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
In a letter to Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud), Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich said Odeh’s membership in the Knesset should be revoked based on 2016 legislation that enables a majority of 90 lawmakers to oust a fellow MK from among them for supporting armed struggle against Israel. To begin expulsion proceedings, 70 MKs must give their support to the move.
Odeh later fired back at Smotrich, saying “In Israel, racists like him hate Arabs. In the US and Europe they also hate Jews and Black people.” Odeh characterized Smotrich as a petty politician full of hate who is desperate to make a bizarre headline.”
Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said during Thursday’s press conference in Ramallah, “We are announcing today an agreement to topple the ‘Deal of the Century’… There will be popular resistance in which we will all participate.” Also addressing the conference via video-link from Beirut was Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri who said, “We will put in place all necessary measures to ensure national unity in our efforts against annexation. Today, we must speak with a single voice.”
In a statement released after the press conference Odeh said, “I took part in the conference in Ramallah to support Palestinian reconciliation moves. Reconciliation between the factions is a necessary step in combating annexation, ending the occupation and achieving a just peace.”