Harsh words were exchanged Wednesday as Knesset Member Effie Eitam (National Union-NRP) addressed remarks made by a number of Arab lawmakers during a rally in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm in protest of IDF activity in Gaza .
"The day will come when we will banish you from this house (Knesset) and the national home," Eitam said during his speech, "no sane democratic nation can ignore such treachery at a time of war. We must expel you and all those who participated in the unruly and treacherous rally against the State of Israel that took place at Umm al-Fahm.
"You should be expelled to Gaza, where your people, who are fighting us, dwell; that is where you belong," the MK said.
Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly) shouted at Eitam from his seat "you're a madman and a racist." Taleb el-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) called for the Jewish MK to be imprisoned and said he should "stand trial for his actions during the first intifada".
"His (Eitam's) place is in history's garbage can after he called for a transfer of Israel's Arab citizens," el-Sana said.
'Arab public is angry'
Eitam responded by saying that he had not called for the banishment of all of Israel's Arab citizens, but only those who attended the Umm al-Fahm rally.
The fierce argument in the plenum broke out following an agenda proposal levied by Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh relating to the escalating violence in southern Israel. Barakeh noted that he is a Palestinian who was born in a Galilee village that has now been utterly demolished.
“Then why don’t you leave this country and go live with your Palestinian brothers,” replied Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman.
“Why don’t you go back to where you came from, you impudent immigrant," Barakeh retorted. "Israel’s quest to protect its citizens is understandable and legitimate, but not at the cost of mass genocide involving children. Force is the only solution, however, envisioned by fascist, racist leaders of a failed political party," he added.
MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) also entered the fray and stated that “whoever calls Israelis Jewish Nazis doesn’t belong in the State of Israel or its institutions. The Arab MKs who attended the demonstration cannot act as they did after taking an oath of allegiance to the State of Israel.”
To that MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) retorted that “there wasn’t an Arab MK that did not condemn attacks on Israeli citizens, however one cannot compare the mass panic in Sderot to the slaughter of innocent children, which is a war crime.”
“I will not remain silent when traitors speak in the Israeli Knesset,” said MK Rotem, to which Tibi replied “I hold you and your friends in contempt. You are members of a fascist party which thrives on blood. You get an immense adrenaline rush every time you hear a Palestinian speak and express his point of view.”
During Tuesday evening's rally Zahalka said, "the Arab public is angry at the Israeli government, which is committing war crimes in Gaza and threatening to continue them."
Barakeh said the demonstration was held to protest the "prime minister's (Ehud Olmert) and defense minister's (Ehud Barak) catastrophic plans."