Arabs: Lieberman may lead country to catastrophe
Several prominent Israeli Arabs speak out against Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who joined Olmert's coalition and is known for racially charged policy proposals. Israeli-Arab leaders: Lieberman's appointment reveals racist truth about Israel and is not beneficial for Jewish citizens either
“There is a positive aspect to Lieberman joining the government: The racist truth has been revealed,” actor Amar Halihal told Ynet.
Actor Juliano Mar said, “I believe Israel is on the road toward fascism. Lieberman represents this fatal process of a country that is losing its way.
"I myself have disengaged from all the Liebermans, and today I live in a refugee camp in Jenin, where I’m building a children’s theater. Lieberman’s entrance into the government has taken away my desire to return to the Israeli scene.”
Halihal added, “Now the government cannot lie to the Arab population anymore; it’s over, the truth has been revealed.”
According to Halihal, the latest political development is not beneficial to the country’s Jews either.
“Israel is shooting itself in the foot with Lieberman joining the government, because he and those like him will turn the country into a bunker, a place sealed off to the rest of the world,” he said.
“Simple people are afraid now, they sense something not good is happening around them; this will lead to more and more Octobers (October 2000 riots), to another intifada. If Lieberman will begin to act according to his ideology it will lead to a catastrophe.”
Former soccer star Rifat Turk noted that this isn't a particularly uplifting event for him either.
"It isn't heartening that this man has entered the coalition. We are familiar with his opinions. He is enflaming the atmosphere, inciting the instincts. This is another step of turning the better things back. This step intensifies the problems and makes the situation negative," Turk said.
Turk doesn't see Lieberman's being charged with strategic affairs as marginal: "I am positive he will have an effect. He is closer to the issues. He has more influence." Turk clarified: "This is an incorrect step for the coalition."
Jafar Farah, head of the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens thinks that "it is shameful to have an MK who is calling to expel Arab citizens join the coalition. This is indicative of the distress of human rights and democracy in Israel."
According to him, those in the center of the political map intend to act against the said political move.
"We will start to put international pressure on Olmert not to make this move. Already next week a delegation of 14 European Parliament members will embark on acting on the matter," Farah notified.
Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Chairman Shawki Khatib said that Lieberman's joining the coalition sends a message of belittlement to the Arab population in Israel.
"We think that a party whose flag is emblazoned with racism, whose platform is transferring the Arab population out of Israel, who is legitimized by the Israeli government, and is legitimized to be one of the decision makers of the coalition and part of the mainstream of the Israeli public, sends a message to the Arab population: Even though you are a million people with Israeli citizenship, we belittle you. That is why we give the okay to what is defined by both the Jewish public in Israel and by the world as racism," asserted Khatib.
Extremist, racist government
Hadash party Chairman Mohammad Barakeh explained that the inclusion of Israel Our Home into the Olmert government is "a step that reveals Olmert's distress. This is a step that is against democracy and gives legitimacy to the racist discourse coming out of the extreme right wing.
"Furthermore, giving Lieberman the strategic portfolio is a declaration of war against Iran and other countries in the region. Labor remaining in the government is another failure of the party that has lost its way."
MK Abbas Zkoor (United Arab List-Ta'al) added to the statements: "I see Lieberman joining the coalition as declaring the government extremist and racist. The issue worsens the security situation and the connections between Israel and the Arab world and also strains relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
"Lieberman doesn’t want to see Arabs in Israel. The very fact that he has become minister for strategic affairs means that his strategy of a Jews-only state may be realized."
MK Wasil Taha (National Democratic Assembly) said, "It is a black day for the Knesset and the coalition when a man with racist opinions who threatens and instigates war in his statements joins it. It is dangerous not only for the Arabs, but also for the Jews and all the citizens."
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report