Following is a translation of the speech delivered by MK Yousef Jabarin (Hadash — Joint List) before the Israeli Knesset on October 12, 2015 during the opening meeting of its winter session in which a vote of no confidence was brought to the floor.
This government does not have a political solution. It is not ready for a historic compromise. It is not willing to dismantle settlements. It is not ready to recognize the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, just like that of other peoples. Instead, Netanyahu and his government are stoking the blaze. The government has no solution, so it can only inflame. After failing to bring about a regional war against Iran, Netanyahu is doing just what he has always done – set a fire; a fire which injures everyone, Jews and Arabs alike. Political responsibility for the blood being spilled belongs to the Israeli government and to it alone. The Netanyahu government is not a government of life. Anyone who chooses life must stand up against it.
For the Arab citizens of Israel, the terrible events of October 2000, when 13 Arab civilians were shot dead by the security forces, simply because they protested against discrimination and oppression, have not been forgotten. Lately it seems that the harsh atmosphere of incitement and hatred have taken over and have become routine, leading to incitement to violence against an entire community – the Arab public. [Since then,] tens of thousands of Arab citizens have been arrested for political protest. The police have violently suppressed demonstrations by Arab citizens. Youths, just boys and girls, have been arrested before they could even utter a word, merely because they wanted to exercise their right to demonstrate or strike.
Provocations Backed by the Government
Clearly, the main reason for the current wave of violence is the ongoing provocation by settlers and right-wing activists, who have significantly increased their entries to the al-Aqsa mosque compound with the backing of the government and the cooperation of the coalition’s ministers and MKs. For days on end the doors to the al-Aqsa mosque have remained closed for several hours daily, when only the settlers are allowed in. I personally was there when the mosque was empty of worshipers – empty except for settlers. If this isn’t a change in the status quo, what is? The breach of the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem is just this latest measure in the implementation of the government’s settlement policy in East Jerusalem – [a policy of] home demolitions; the mass revoking of residency status of thousands of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem; the dispossession of inhabitants of East Jerusalem of their property and lands; the policy of collective punishment against Palestinians, and their blatant discrimination in budgeting allocations, construction of infrastructures, health services and education – all in complete contravention of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international law. Netanyahu is acting to increase Jewish settlement in the territories, to actualize the plan for their annexation to Israel, and to legitimize the settlements; actions aimed at preventing any chance for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, and to leave the status quo unaltered. The prime minister flees from responsibility for his government’s actions and policies which have led us all to the current wave of violence. He chooses instead to cynically lay the blame on the doorstep of the Palestinian leadership, of us the Arab MKs, and of the Islamic Movement – which is now also threatened with being outlawed. The Islamic Movement’s activities take place within the boundaries of freedom of expression and opposition – freedom of political activity in any democracy must be respected. So what will be the next step? Outlaw the entire Arab population? Declare the entire Arab population as an illegal organization? It is vital to emphasize that what is not legal in this context is the trampling of the rights of minorities; what is not legal here is the occupation; what is not legal is the repression; what is not legal is the use of force to control the destiny of another people. The true root cause of the current wave of violence is the occupation which has lasted for nearly five decades. Instead of implementing a political solution, Netanyahu and his government are only deepening the conflict.
Citizens of Israel – You Bear Responsibility
I want to address you, the citizens of Israel, because you bear responsibility inasmuch as the government is committing crimes, perpetuating injustices, and sowing despair in your name. You bear a responsibility because you have a voice and you have the freedom to elect your representatives. And you bear responsibility because you can stop being fooled by this government of deception; by those who derive political and economic capital out of this escalation; by those media that incite against the democratic leadership of the Arab population; by those in the “Shabak” (General Security Service) who call in pupils, young girls, for interrogation after they wrote a private post online; by those who believe that the wholesale arrest of uninvolved children and civilians is the solution; by those who call for Jewish citizens to bear arms, a call which borders on incitement to violence against the Arab community! I turn to you, citizens of Israel, to replace this dangerous government. Take responsibility for your own destinies and throw aside this government and elect representatives who will be willing to put an end to the deterioration, to correct the wrongs, to be speak honestly as equals with the Palestinian leadership; a government which will understand that the Palestinian people deserve the same rights and the same opportunities as Jews. Equality and respect and a decent life are the only things which defeat all despair and halt radicalization. I want to conclude in a call to Jews and Arabs: In difficult times like these, let’s stride together towards a better future for all of us; a future based on the recognition that we are all equal as human beings and as citizens; a better future in which Palestinians will also enjoy self-determination within the ’67 borders. An authentic peace will bring prosperity. The governments of Israel have tried everything; only peace they have yet to try.