Photo: Gil Yohanan
El-Sana. 'Olmert inciting'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Barakeh. 'Olmert's sick mind'
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Photo: AP
Olmert arriving at cabinet meeting
Photo: AP

MK Barakeh: Olmert infected with racism

Arab MKs slam acting PM for his remarks against Muslim leadership following church incident; 'criminal act in Nazareth is a direct result of unruly incitement policy led by Olmert against Arab public,' MK El-Sana says

Olmert slams Muslim leadership, Arab Knesset members demand apology: Knesset Member Taleb El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) said in response to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's remarks on Friday's church incident that "the criminal act in Nazareth is a direct result of the unruly incitement policy led by Olmert against the Arab public."


"The act is the result of Zionism's insane policy, which destroyed mosques, desecrated churches and shows no tolerance toward other people's holy sites," he said.


El-Sana demanded that Olmert apologize for his "miserable and shameful" remark, because "Islam equally sanctifies the places holy for Christians and Muslims."


Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh also rushed to harshly condemn Olmert's remarks.


"These statements came from a sick mind infected with racism and cruel arrogance. Olmert has yet to understand the severity of what was done, and the attempt to drive a wedge among the Arab population is a dirty game with predetermined results," he said.


"Such remarks are a miserable attempt to draw the attention from the terrorist act committed in Nazareth," Barakeh charged.


National Democratic Assembly Chairman Azmi Bishara said in response to Olmert's remarks that "the one who is trying to take advantage of this malicious incident is the acting prime minister and his partners, who are trying to divide the Arab public into Muslims and Christians."


Bishara added that "in this country's politics there are no Muslim public leaders and Christian public leaders. There are Arab public leaders."


"What bothered Mr. Olmert was the demonstration of unity by the entire Arab public and its leaders against the desecration of this public's holy sites," he added.


MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) also condemned Olmert's remarks, calling them "an amazing statement of a person who wants to view as separate sectors and not as a civil national minority."


"There are those who want to continue to separate between Muslims, Christians and Druze in order to make their mission of weakening the Arab minority easier. I am proud that the Muslims defended the Church of Annunciation and I am sure Christian Arabs would not hesitate to defend mosques," he said.


Nazareth Mayor Ramez Jiraisi said in response to Olmert’s statement: "This is a miserable effort to drive a wedge between the people of this nation and reflects the policy of the different Israeli governments – the same policy that refuses to view us s a national minority and treats us like a collection of different ethnic groups.”


Olmert: Muslim public trying to gain politically from incident


Olmert slammed the Muslim leadership in the country during Sunday's cabinet meeting, saying that “there is an attempt to gain politically from the incident. There is something almost ridiculous in the fact that the Muslim public, which is intolerant of Christianity and its leaders, is at the forefront of the protest against an incident carried out by a weird couple and is trying to leverage the incident for election campaign purposes.”


The acting prime minister added that “Since Israel’s inception it has been strict in allowing freedom of religion and showed tolerance for all the authorities of the various religions.”


“It is good that things ended the ay they did. This was an unfortunate incident that could have had severe ramifications," Olmert said.


“I call on all sides involved to act with restraint and responsibility and not drag this unfortunate incident to religious confrontations that would have nothing to do with what happened,” he added.


Meanwhile, Labor Chairman Amir Peretz said during a visit to Nazareth that “even if this (church incident) was an act carried out by crazy people, the State of Israel must send a clear message that individual madness cannot reach holy sites.”


Attila Somfalvi and Roee Nahmias contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 03.05.06, 13:52
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