Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the Knesset Ethics Committee on Sunday that he stood by his accusation that an Arab lawmaker is a terrorist, citing MK Ayman Odeh’s past actions as evidence.
Erdan responded to the committee in a letter after MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint (Arab) List party, filed a complaint against him over a heated exchange between the two during a Knesset debate about violence in Arab communities two weeks ago.
Odeh had demanded that Erdan stand up and publicly declare that he had failed in his responsibilities to curb the violence. “You are a terrorist, a supporter of terror and I have nothing to say to you,” Erdan retorted. “You belong behind bars.”
“My comments to him, among them that he is a criminal who supports terror, are remarks that I stand behind, and that is in light of the many well-known incidents in the past of MK Odeh, during which he attacked police in various ways and expressed support for terror activities and terror organizations,” Erdan said in his response Sunday to Odeh’s complaint.
“As the public security minister, who is in charge of the Israel Police, I cannot turn a blind eye and allow his attacks and actions to pass in silence,” he added, claiming that Odeh’s statements and conduct constituted “real support for actions that endanger the general public.”
Erdan went on to list some of the incidents he took issue with, including an incident last May when Odeh called a police officer a “zero.”
He also said that in June, Odeh participated in an East Jerusalem conference organized by two terror groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, “in order to express solidarity.”
During the demolition of the Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran in January 2017, Odeh rallied with the residents against police, sustaining head injuries during the clashes. The Umm al-Hiran demolition also saw police fatally shoot a Beduoin man, Yacoub Mousa Abu Al-Qia’an, in an incident in which an Israeli officer, Erez Levi, was also killed.