The Hamas terror group on Monday praised Israel’s Joint (Arab) List lawmakers after they held up up signs reading “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” during US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Knesset.
Hamas hailed the “Palestinian” lawmakers for protesting against Pence’s “racial speech” in a post on its official English Twitter account.
It also said “Al-Quds is the eternal capital of #Palestine,” using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
#Hamas praises the role of Palestinians members in the Israeli occupation #kenesset in refusing the racial speech for Mike #Pence against Alquds and assures that #Alquds is the eternal capital of #Palestine.
— Hamas Movement (@HamasInfoEn) January 22, 2018
The MKs were thrown out of the plenum by parliamentary ushers for brandishing the signs, in a scene that lasted less than a minute, but saw angry pushing and shoving.
The phrase on the signs was written in both English and Arabic, but the Arabic line said “East Jerusalem.”
The lawmakers were heavily censured by other MKs with some calling for action to be taken against them.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was among the first lawmakers to publicly condemn the outburst, tweeting that the Joint List “proved once again that they are representatives of terrorist organizations in the Knesset.”
ח"כ ג'מאל זחאלקה מגיב: "הנפנו שלט עם תמונה של כנסיה ומסגד, עליו כתוב 'ירושלים המזרחית בירת פלסטין'. המטרה לצאת נגד טראמפ. אנחנו רוצים הסדר. אין לי שום כבוד לסגן נשיא ארה"ב. אפס!!" pic.twitter.com/3cSLgT4ntv
— חדשות 2 (@Channel2News) January 22, 2018
“Their shameful behavior exposed to everyone their disloyalty to the state and its symbols. Only when Israeli Arabs allow other voices to represent them will be a chance for true peace,” he concluded.
MK Oded Forer, a lawmaker in Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, called for suspending the pay of “unruly MKs.”
“[Joint List MKs] are heroes at protesting against Israel but enjoy receiving salaries from the State of Israel,” tweeted Forer.
Forer said he had suggested the idea to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit last May. Edelstein revealed shortly after the trip that Trump wanted to give the major address of his Israel visit at the Knesset, but Israel could not guarantee that lawmakers would behave.
“If my [suggestion] had been accepted, I am sure the Arab MKs wouldn’t dare to go wild.”
Likud MK Oren Hazan later confronted Zahalka outside the plenum and called him and his fellow faction MKs “terrorists.”
As Zahalka attempted to speak to reporters, Hazan shouted him down and said he was an “embarrassment” to the electorate that he represents.
— חדשות עשר (@news10) January 22, 2018
Monday’s protest was in response to US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Pence for his part brushed off the interruption, saying he was “humbled to speak before such a vibrant democracy” before continuing his speech, in which he vowed the US embassy would be moved to Jerusalem before the end of 2019.