הפגנה יום  האדמה
Protest of Israeli Arabs
The heads of the Joint List with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem

Arab Israelis' existence is a fact, recognition is a right

Opinion: We are not a fifth column, and it is only right for the president to criticize such comments, but this should not even be open for debate; the Arab population of Israel sees itself as an integral part of the state, demanding full liberty under the law

Maha Agbaria |
Updated: 11.30.19 , 13:46
We woke up one day this month with "orders" from Iran to form a minority government with General Gantz.
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  • Those who wish to understand why should take a listen to Netanyahu's "emergency rally" with his right-wing bloc that day.
    ריבלין עם הרשימה המשותפתריבלין עם הרשימה המשותפת
    The heads of the Joint List with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem
    (Photo: GPO)
    In Netanyahu's daily updates on world news was a translated media report from Iran on Ayatollah Khomeini's recommendations to the Palestinians.
    In those recommendations, which the prime minister treated as no less than a direct order from the Iranian leader, Khomeini advised "us", the Palestinians, to choose a government of our own and do away with people like Netanyahu.
    Again, Netanyahu is at the center of attention, especially when it comes to Iran.
    This time, he did not just target the Arab population of Israel, but overtly lashed out and instigated against the Joint List faction.
    קלפי כפר מנדאקלפי כפר מנדא
    Residents of the Arab town of Kafr Manda in the Galilee vote in the Sept. 17 elections
    (Photo: AP)
    When he wants to agitate Gantz' center-left bloc and reroute them towards his own Likud party, Netanyahu employs his tried and tested method of delegitimizing the Palestinian population and its representatives in Israel.
    The only reason for this is to increase his seat count in the Knesset.
    Netanyahu is doing everything in his power to facilitate a unity government with Blue and White (especially now that there are only a few days left before the new elections are called). He knows that in such a government, he would resign his post as a premier for only two years and that’s the best he can get.
    A few harsh words at the expense of an entire population are nothing to Netanyahu if it helps him stay in power.
    President Reuven Rivlin's admonishment of Netanyahu later on, though important, was lip service to ease the tempers of the Arab population and its lawmakers.
    רה"מ בנימין נתניהו בפתח ישיבת הממשלהרה"מ בנימין נתניהו בפתח ישיבת הממשלה
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Reuters)
    We are not a fifth column, and it is only right for the president to criticize such sayings, but this is not open for debate.
    Our existence in this land is a fact and our recognition are a right. The Arab population in Israel sees itself as an integral part of the state, a part demanding full liberty, in accordance with the law, even when it sees itself as part of the Palestinian nation.
    This statement does not contradict itself.
    "The national disaster," according to Netanyahu, is celebrations in Ramallah and Tehran over the incorporation of citizens of the land where they were born in the national government.
    Over time, the Arab population of Israel has become passive towards these sorts of remarks by the prime minister, in hopes that a "representative" group of Arab citizens won't come forward and apologize for the statements.
    For the greater good, the Joint List will never join any government if the status quo is upheld.
    Maha Agbaria is a lawyer and political activist

    First published: 13:46 , 11.30.19
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