Far-Right MKs Disrupt Palestinian State Recognition Conference at Knesset

MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) hosted on Tuesday a conference in Israel’s Knesset titled “Recognizing the State of Palestine: Why Now?” in which members of her front and the Arab party Ra’am, Jewish and Arab peace activists, journalists, academics and diplomats called on Israeli leadership to recognize a sovereign State of Palestine.

The conference came after Norway, Ireland, Spain and Slovenia recently recognized Palestine as an independent. “More and more people in the world are realizing that recognition of the State of Palestine is also a step of historical justice that must be carried out precisely in these days,” Touma-Suleiman states. In the opening remarks of her conference she added, “Despite the feeling that we are living in the darkest period in the history of the area, and trust in our ability to head in a direction of hope when peace is at its lowest point, we are here to recall that human history teaches that the worst wars and conflicts ended in difficult negotiations that led to political agreements. In our case, this needs to be the path as well.”

Two far-rights lawmakers, sought to obstruct the event: MK Tally Gotliv, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and Zvi Sukkot from Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism Party. During the session, Succot and Gotliv (Likud) entered the hall and began heckling the participants. “You are terror supporters, there will never be a Palestinian state,” shouted Succot. MK Touma-Sliman responded to Succot, a settler in the Palestinian occupied territories: “You can’t settle in this session.”

MK Touma-Sliman during the conference in Israel’s Knesset titled “Recognizing the State of Palestine: Why Now?”, Jerusalem, June 4, 2024 (Footage: Knesset Channel)

All of Hadash-Ta’al’s MKs participated in the conference, as did MK Iman Hatib-Yassin from Ra’am. Other participants included Hadash secretary-general Amjad Shvita, Hadash chairman and former MK Issam Makhoul, former Hadash MK Dov Khenin, and the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Israel, Adel Amer.

Touma-Sliman, as well as the other MKs, stressed in their remarks what they saw as the importance of holding the conference in the Knesset, and argued that only recognition of a Palestinian state alongside Israel will lead to lasting peace for both peoples.

MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al) said such a conference should have been held “every day since the start of the occupation.” Tibi claimed that since October 7, none of the Zionist parties said the words “Palestinian State,” and National Unity chairman MK Benny Gantz never said the words. Tibi also said that in the current far-right Israeli government, there were no ministers who regarded the Palestinians as a people, let alone the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state.

Despite the recognition of 143 UN member states, the US only paid lip service to the concept of the two-state solution, but de facto has used its veto power to prevent this, Tibi claimed, adding that recognizing Israel’s right to a state but refusing to recognize the same for Palestinians served as support for Jewish supremacy.

On Monday, far-right organization B’Tsalmo appealed to the Knesset Speaker, MK Amir Ohana (Likud) demanding to cancel a meeting scheduled to take place on Tuesday. “We immediately demand from the Knesset Speaker to use his authority as speaker and announce the cancellation of the conference.  MK Aida Touma-Sliman can hold a similar conference in the parliament in Ramallah, in Qatar, and in any other country in the world,” said B’Tsalmo CEO, Shai Glick, 

A protest against war in Gaza and to commemorate 57 years of occupation will be held by Partnership for Peace next Saturday, June 8, at 5 p.m. at Meir Square in Tel-Aviv in front of the far-right Likud headquarters. Thousands of protesters would participate in the protest lead by the Communist Party of Israel, the Young Communist League of Israel and Hadash and sponsored by a large number of peace and human rights organizations.

Related: https://maki.org.il/en/?p=31896