The head of the Joint (Arab) List on Friday strongly criticized Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog for calling the 2005 Gaza disengagement “a mistake,” terming it a “racist” comment. MK Ayman Odeh also fiercely castigated Israel’s peace camp, charging that the left-wing constituents were responsible for various atrocities against the Palestinians.
Herzog on Tuesday said the Gaza disengagement was “a mistake” from a security perspective, but an “essential” step in preventing Israel from becoming a bi-national state.
“This is a racist comment against me,” Odeh said at a “Peace Now” conference in Tel Aviv, according to Haaretz. “We are here after the Nakba, Kafr Kassam and October 2000 — all of which were carried out by Israel’s left.” (Odeh was referring, respectively, to Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, marked as the Palestinian “catastrophe”; a 1956 massacre in an Arab Israeli town; and the killing of 13 Arab protesters during the early months of the Second Intifada.)
“It’s true that a small number of the right-wing cry ‘death to the Arabs,'” said Odeh. “But the left did the killing.”
Speaking on the panel alongside Odeh, Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich defended Herzog, though she said she disagreed with his remarks.
“Boujie [Herzog] has the right to say it was a security mistake,” she said. “I don’t agree with him. In my eyes, the mistake of the disengagement was that it was unilateral. In Lebanon, too,” she said.
Odeh charged that Israel’s Arabs are largely excluded from the peace camp, despite being some 20 percent of the population.
“You can make decisions about war without the Arab population, but you can’t achieve peace without the weight of the Arab population,” Odeh said.
He also distinguished between the Gaza disengagement and Lebanon withdrawal, and peace accords with Jordan and Egypt.
“The difference between the peace deals with Jordan and Egypt and the withdrawals from Gaza and Lebanon is that the Islamic State operates in Jordan and Sinai, but when there is peace, there are security arrangements,” he said. “Therefore, the approach must be not to withdraw and run away, but to make a deal.”