Arab MK slammed for praising slain Lion’s Den terrorists as ‘martyrs’

After Aida Touma-Sliman lauds ‘resistance,’ Gantz says her position shows Hadash-Ta’al not a partner; opposition MKs accuse Lapid of hoping to form coalition with terror backers

Joint Arab List MK Aida Touma-Sliman in the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 8, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Joint Arab List MK Aida Touma-Sliman in the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 8, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman faced a wave of criticism on Tuesday after referring to five slain members of a Palestinian terror group as “martyrs” and asserting that their “resistance” was a response to “the occupation.”

“Nablus bid farewell to our martyrs today,” the Arab Knesset member wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “The Palestinian people bid farewell to their martyrs.”

“The more the occupation increases its crimes, the resistance escalates,” Touma-Sliman added. “An important lesson in the history of nations.”

Touma-Sliman posted the comments alongside photos from a mass funeral in Nablus for five members of the Lion’s Den terrorist group who were killed in an overnight IDF raid in the city.

The recently formed group has claimed a slew of attacks against military and civilian targets — including one that killed IDF soldier Ido Baruch — over the past couple of months.

Criticism of Touma-Sliman’s comments rolled in quickly from across the political spectrum. With just a week to go until the November 1 election, most appeared to use her Facebook for political purposes.

Gunmen at the funeral of those killed in clashes sparked by an overnight Israeli raid against the Lion’s Den terror group, in the West Bank city of Nablus on October 25, 2022. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the National Unity party said he was “ashamed of public representatives who support terrorists and are prepared to let them continue to spill the blood of Israeli citizens.”

“MK Aida Touma-Sliman proves again that [Hadash-Ta’al] can’t be included in a government or relied on to form one,” Gantz adds. “Israel’s security comes before coalition-building.”

Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit leader Bezalel Smotrich said Israel “cannot fight terror if you establish a government with terror supporters!”

Shas leader Arye Deri claimed that Prime Minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid wants to rely on the political support “of these terror supporters who praise ‘martyrs.'”

Lapid has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to form a coalition with Hadash-Ta’al, the faction that, together with Balad, used to form the Joint List. The majority-Arab alliance has also stated in no uncertain terms that it would never join a government coalition.

Without its backing, recent polls indicate it would be next-to-impossible for the Yesh Atid leader to form a government following next week’s election.

Joint List MKs (from L) Aida Touma-Suleiman, Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi, Sami Abou Shahadeh, and Ofer Cassif visit the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on May 10, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Likud MK Miki Zohar said Touma-Sliman’s words are “all the nation needs to know in order to vote correctly, to vote for the right-wing.”

Likud MK Nir Barkat shared her Facebook post, saying: “There is no room for terror supporters in the Israeli Knesset. It’s impossible to believe that there are those who are willing to sit together in a coalition with terrorist backers.”

Touma-Sliman’s fellow Joint List MK Ofer Cassif, meanwhile, tweeted his “full support” of her for stating “the simple truth.”

“Where there is suppression, where there is occupation, there will be resistance,” Cassif wrote. “The occupation is terror, and its supporters… should be judged in Israel, in Palestine, at The Hague and by the annals of history.”

Party leader Ayman Odeh also gave his backing to Touma-Sliman, dismissing the criticism against her as “attacks and incitement by the leaders of a country that is occupying another.”

“We will always stand firm and strong against evil, supremacy and racism,” he added.

Touma-Silman has made similar inflammatory statements in the past, and was threatened with sanctions after altering her Knesset swearing-in statement last year to include a vow to “fight against the occupation.”

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