“We reach out to you.” Interview with Ahmed Tibi
News » Arab-Israeli conflict
Journalist Yediot Ahronot Naum Barnea interviewed Hadash Taal MP Ahmed Tibi.
“This week, on a rainy evening, I was driving home Ahmad Tibi. […] Tibi is back after a long night and another day of voting against the government in the Knesset. “You are collaborating with Netanyahu,” Yair Lapid lashed out at him and his colleagues. “That's a false statement,” Tibi told me. “We are a full-fledged opposition.”
Let's leave the Knesset aside for a while. How do your voters feel about the revolution and the campaign against it?
“With great interest,” he said. “I have great respect for the demonstrators. I admire their tenacity. They are the only opposition today.”
Did you physically go to the demonstrations?
“Ayman Uda went,” he said. "Ofer Kassif too. I'll go later.”
I don't see many Arabs at the demonstrations.
“The agenda for the demonstrations is focused on the justice system,” he said. “The Arab public does not have much love for either the justice system as a whole or the High Court. A study conducted at the University of Haifa showed that for the same offenses, the punishment for Arabs is 30% more severe than for Jews. The High Court of Justice approved settlements, land appropriation, the nation state law, the law on recruitment into the army, the Kamenitz law. The Arabs who petitioned were thrown out into the street.
“Someone told me that the demonstrations were of a Zionist-militarist nature. Speakers – people from the army. The flags are blue and white. There are some who make the Arabs understand, “You shouldn't come, you will hurt the cause.” This is similar to the attitude of the previous coalition, Bennett and Lapid. You'd better not come.”
“The Arabs think that the demonstrators' democracy has nothing to do with them. It does not touch on topics that are important to us – equality or demolition. I also think that democracy and occupation do not go together. In fact, this is a clash of two Jewish societies – the state of Judah against the state of Israel.
So there's no reason for you to be there.
“That's not true,” he said. “Despite everything I have said, I call on the Arabs to demonstrate. I know that if the legislation is passed, the Arabs will suffer.”
The demonstrators, at least some of them, felt for the first time that they were a minority in their country. The government ignores them.
He smiled. “What you feel now, we feel all the time,” he said. "I will put it in the language of doctors: we have it chronic, you have it acute. Let's find common ground. We extend our hand to you.
And then, as usual, there was a small kick filled with irony. “If a real dictatorship is established here,” he said, “then the officer who killed Shirin Abu Akleh could be prosecuted on charges of war crimes against those who built the settlements. There is a plus in this.
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