The Israeli delegation of six Knesset members that visited Libya met for three hours Sunday evening with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. MK Talab el-Sana (United Arab List-Taal) told Ynet that the meeting had been open and friendly, and that Gaddafi had agreed to their request to allow Arab students from Israel to study in Libya.
"The Libyan leader emphasized the significance of our visit and noted that he has nothing against Jews, but against Zionism," el-Sana said.
"We are not against Jews, but we have a problem with Zionism and Zionist leaders who oppress the Palestinians, and also you, Arabs of '48," Gaddafi said during the meeting, using the common Arab appellation for Israel's Palestinian citizens. "We didn't massacre Jews, it was the west that did that. We gave them refuge."
The Libyan leader also said that the occupation "will bring disaster upon the Israeli entity," adding to his guests, "We invited you because your voices are not being heard, and I want the world to hear you."
Two-state solution 'unrealistic'
Gaddafi repeated his vision of one state for Arabs and Jews, a vision known as "Isratine", and said that Israel's Arabs must "multiply" to counter any "plots" to expel them.
"Israel will never be a pure Jewish state in this region," Gaddafi said. "Its leaders are leading it to the edge of the precipice. I think the solution is one state with elections held under UN supervision. The solution of two states for two peoples is stupid and unrealistic."
"Zionism takes anti-Semitism in order to suppress all criticism of itself. We, a Semitic nation, and you also, fall victim to this behavior."
Gaddafi also said that the Israeli regime, by failing to promote peace, is promoting war. "Warmongering just before elections because it helps one party or another is illegitimate; you can't just sacrifice the lives of innocent civilians."
The solution which will bring peace to the region, he said, is one democratic state for two peoples, the right of return for the refugees, and making the region free of nuclear weapons.
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Taal) said, "Israel must end the occupation which began in 1967 in order to implement the vision of two states for two peoples, otherwise it will have to cope with one state – tomorrow.
"We are citizens of the State of Israel, struggling for equality which doesn't exist, but we are also part of the Arab world and request your assistance in opening the doors of the Arab world to us, especially our students, artists, engineers and sportsmen and women. I ask for your support also in education, infrastructure, culture and sport."
Tibi also criticized Arabs in Israel and in the Arab world, saying, "Why are we a consumerist society and not a creative society? Why isn't there a single Arab university listed among the 500 leading universities? Why are there no translations and innovations? Where does the money go to? Why does the Arab scientist prosper and succeed abroad and not in his country of birth? And how much is invested in research in the Arab world?"
'Popular charismatic leader'
Later, Tibi said to Ynet, "We met a popular and charismatic leader, who – in an unusual move – even shared the evening meal with us."
During the meeting, el-Sana said that the Israeli occupation will end like the Italian colony in Libya, and that Israel's settlement policy "empties the 'two states for two peoples' solution of all content."
Upon landing at Tripoli on Saturday evening, the delegation members met various senior figures from the Libyan regime. They see the visit as groundbreaking, because for years they were refused an invitation to visit any Arab state because of the Israeli passports they carry.
"Nobody wanted people to think that he is normalizing relations with Israel, so we weren't invited," el-Sana explained on Saturday. "But a distinction must be made. We don't need to be victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict."
Libya is currently the president of the Arab League, with Gaddafi at its head. "After Gaddafi was chosen, he decided that the Palestinian population in Israel deserved attention," MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash) said. "From our point of view, it's a very important meeting, as members of the Arab nation we are close to the Arab world and culture, and it's natural that we would want to visit here."