MK Ahmed Tibi, Hadash-Ta’al Party (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and the Arab Movement for Renewal, respectively), told Ynet that he is opposed to US President Donald Trump’s proposed “deal of the century” for Mideast peace, a sliver of which was revealed Monday by Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and son-in-law.
“It is a terrible proposal,” Tibi said, “the American administration is not very familiar with the region. Kushner coordinated some of the initiatives with Netanyahu and not with the Palestinians side.”
Asked if the Arab Knesset parties would consider joining with Center-Left parties to block the Likud from forming a coalition, Tibi replied: “The truth is, from the perspective of the Arab parties, the experience from the 90’s (in supporting the Rabin government over the Oslo Accords) was successful. It improved the status of the Arab population.
“But then it was a Rabin-Meretz government. Today, there is a different direction, a different type of politics, more extremism and anti-Arabism; therefore I think that we are far from such a situation,” Tibi said. “We want to be in the Knesset in order to make a difference, to improve the status of the Arab minority and also to influence the diplomatic issue and end the occupation.”
Tibi emphasized his opposition to Netanyahu and the Right. “But don’t expect to hear cries of joy from us over Gantz or Lapid. Lapid declared only a few days ago that he will not sit in a coalition with Arabs. Imagine a French politician saying that he won’t sit with Jews. It is a harsh, disturbing and inexcusable statement. I have also yet to hear from Gantz anything regarding equality for Arab citizens. Therefore I have a problem with these two,” Tibi concluded.
If Gantz does talk about equality, forms a coalition with Meretz and advances the “deal of the century,” will you then consider supporting his coalition?
“We oppose the Trump deal. It is a plan that does not include east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, it lacks full sovereignty for the Palestinians and it leaves settlements. Why should we support such a plan? The cardinal elements of the proposal are opposed to the interest of the Palestinian people,” Tibi responded.
“I am quite sure that Jared Kushner coordinated parts of the proposal with Netanyahu and his associates,” Tibi continued. “He didn’t coordinate with the Palestinian side, therefore they oppose it — justifiably. Even assuming it’s the only proposal, who says it must be accepted? It is a terrible proposal; the Americans aren’t familiar with the region and their policies are one-sided.”
The New Right Party says that the proposal calls for Netanyahu dividing Jerusalem.
Tibi: “I don’t wish to get involved in the internal intrigue on the Right. For us it’s the same position. So much has been tried, but they have yet to try one thing: ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, alongside Israel.”
You can see the increase in anti-Semitism and attacks on Jews across the world, why, in your opinion, is this happening?
Tibi: “We have said in the past that anti-Semitism is a form of racism. We don’t mean that opposition to Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic but rather anti-Semitism of attacking a Jew because he is a Jew or he has a kippa or attacking a Muslim because she has a hijab or head covering; these racist phenomena ought to be opposed.
“Racism has always existed, in Europe, Netanyahu’s friends in Poland or Hungary for example, they have a strong element of anti-Semitism in their platform but Netanyahu gives them a break because they are with him against the Palestinians,” Tibi said.