MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), chairman of the Joint List, decried the Israeli occupation at the Herzliya Conference on Sunday, June 7, and condemned the Israeli Left for not doing more to fight against it in the Palestinian territories. “The Israeli occupation is the longest since the end of World War II, and the last one,” said Odeh. “We are in favor of the establishment of a Palestinian state on the occupied territories,” he added.
“Because I am a part of this state, I am terribly torn,” Odeh said. “I am a part of this country and of the Palestinian nation. I want this for the Israeli nation as well. A society cannot be moral when it occupies another nation and, instead of wasting money in the settlements, provide money for the weak and the poor. This is primarily for the Palestinians, but not just for them. We must free both nations from the occupation,” he added.
Speaking earlier, Zionist Union/Labor Party head MK Yitzchak Herzog said that he wished to “divorce” the Palestinians, and create a Jewish state with a majority of Jews. “I have no expectations from the Netanyahu-Bennett government we now have,” Herzog said. “Twenty out of the thirty Likud MKs oppose a Palestinian state of any kind, and very few of the rest support a proper one either. Suffice to say that the leaders of Likud and Jewish Home want to adopt the radical plans of the left – turning Israel into a majority Arab state – which is what will soon happen. Their slogan is ‘a Jewish State on all of the Land of Israel’ – but this is a lie and a fraud,” he said. Herzog warned that the creation of a binational state would endanger Israel and the “continued existence of a national home for the Jewish people.”
“There are currently 6.1 million Arabs and 6.5 million Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Within the decade, the Arabs will be the majority between the Jordan and the sea: 52% Arab and 48% Jewish… I do not want 61 Palestinian members in Knesset. I do not want my country to be called ‘Israstin,” Herzog added.
Joint List head Odeh responded to the Herzog’s remarks by posing the question: “Do you want peace or do you want to separate? There is an important difference … This is no way for the leader of the opposition, much less one who purports to hold leftist views, to behave,” said Odeh. “The ‘Zionist Left’ wishes to rid itself of the Palestinians in order to retain a Jewish majority. What kind of way is this for a leftist group to behave? With a Left like this, who needs a Right?”
“What about me, an Arab-Palestinian citizen of Israel?” queried Odeh. “What do you have to say to me? Is your approach one of granting the Palestinians their place in the sun, or just an exercise in racism? What is the difference between the left and the views of Avigdor Liberman, who is in favor of ‘transfer?’ What about the principles of self-determination for all people, a very leftist value?”