Salah and his supporters in court
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rabbi Yosef. 'Terrible statements'
Photo: Guy Assayag

Israeli Arab leader: Don’t treat us like enemies

Head of Higher Arab Monitoring Committee asks for meeting with President Peres following Sheikh Raed Salah's nine-month prison sentence, in order to protest State's 'ongoing attack' against Arab public's leaders

The head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Mohammad Zeidan, plans to ask for a meeting with President Shimon Peres on Thursday, in order to protest the State's "ongoing attack" on the Arab public's leadership in Israel.


The request will be made following the sentencing of Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement's northern faction, to nine months in prison for assaulting a policeman in Jerusalem.


According to Zeidan, he plans to tell the president that the State of Israel "must stop treating us like enemies."


Zeidan says he has been angry with the State for a long time now. As far as he is concerned, Wednesday's sentence was only one example of events taking place for quite a while.


"Today it's Raed Salah, in February the trial of Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh will open, and MK Said Naffaa will be prosecuted later on. This is a foul wave which must be stopped," says Zeidan.


"I have been thinking about turning to the president for quite a while now, in order to have him help change the general perception. It's time that they understand we are living in this country on our land. We are not emigrants, but an inseparable part of this country, and it's time they stop treating us like a security threat, like enemies, but like equal citizens.


"I did not see the attorney general or any other body considering an indictment against Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, for example, who used terrible expressions against the Arab public in Israel," Zeidan noted. "What he sais against the Muslims a month ago was wild incitement.


"I want to sit down with the president and remind him that we are a million and a half of the State's citizens, which is almost 20%, to look at him at eye level and hear what the State is ready to give and how it is willing to adapt itself to us.


"It's important for me to have the president hear that we are an integral part of the Palestinian people and an integral part of Israeli society," he adds. "We have a political opinion we don't hide behind. We believe Jerusalem is an occupied territory, and until this territory is not returned the tensions between the Arab sector and the State's institutions will continue to exist."


Zeidan, like other Arab public leaders, arrived at the Jerusalem court on Wednesday. "All leaders of the Arab public hold one opinion, that Raed Salah was only judged for his opinions and not because he committed a criminal offense. He himself said, 'I did not push a policeman and did not spit'. We are looking into what can be done legally, whether there is any use in appealing the decision," he concludes.


פרסום ראשון: 01.14.10, 01:01
 new comment
This will delete your current comment