TEL AVIV – Israel’s Joint List, comprised of various Arab parties, said it “rejects and condemns the incitement led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” in the wake of the Attorney General’s instruction to open an investigation into Arab Members of Knesset who visited the families of Palestinian terrorists, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Joint List representatives also accused Netanyahu’s government of being “corpse traffickers” engaged in “tyranny.”
Netanyahu had accused the MKs of supporting terror and “building walls of hate” by visiting the families. The Arab MKs from the Balad party – Jamal Zahalke, Haneen Zoabi, and Basel Ghattas – insisted that they only visited the families of the 10 terrorists in order to discuss the release of the bodies for burial. The terrorists were killed while trying to murder Border Police officers.
However, Palestinian independent Ma’an news agency reported that the three MKs stood in a moment of silence for the terrorists during the visit.
Netanyahu said he could only imagine what the response would be if members of the U.S. Congress or British Parliament stood in a moment of silence for terrorists who murdered their nationals.
“I think there would justifiably have been a great outcry,” he said, adding that he spoke to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit about investigating what legal actions could be taken against the MKs, and what changes can be made in existing laws to ensure that those who act this way in the future will not serve in the Knesset.
Netanyahu and the heads of the coalition parties agreed Sunday to draw up legislation that would suspend MKs over “inappropriate behavior” if a super majority of 90 Knesset members voted to do so.
In response, Zahalke, one of the MKs who visited the families, said, “Netanyahu came to the conclusion that we didn’t break the law or ethics rules, and therefore, he’s going to pass a new law.”
“Netanyahu knows well that our meeting had one and only one purpose, to deal with returning the bodies of people who were killed and [their families] want to bury him, but he decided to distort the purpose of the meeting and claim it had a different purpose, comforting mourners, so that he could incite,” Zahalke said.
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh of Hadash also accused Netanyahu of inciting.
“According to Netanyahu, he needs to rule like an emperor and the Knesset must act according to the tyranny of the majority,” Odeh said.
Odeh further charged the government with “corpse trafficking,” saying the purpose of the Balad MKs’ visit was “a basic human matter.”
“A person who dies, no matter how bad his crime is, must be buried. That does not contradict our moral and principled stance condemning all harm to innocent people,” he said.