Leftist MKs blast Eitam's statements on Arabs, urge AG to investigate
Meretz leader Beilin calls on attorney general to bring Eitam to trial for incitement to racism.
Left-wing lawmakers reacted furiously Monday to statements made by rightist Knesset Member Effi Eitam against Israeli Arab politicians and Palestinians in the West Bank, and called for attorney general Menachem Mazuz to open an investigation into Eitam's comments on grounds of incitement to racism.
Eitam, a member of the right-wing National Union-National Religious Party sparked a political firestorm Monday when he said that the great majority of Palestinians in the West Bank should be expelled, and that Arabs should be ousted from Israeli politics as a fifth column and "a league of traitors."
The remarks, broadcast Monday on Army Radio, were made during a Sunday speech at a memorial service for a soldier killed in Lebanon during the recent war.
It was the first time that Eitam, who heads the Religious Zionism faction within the National Union, has publicly supported deportation of Palestinians, a concept espoused by assassinated National Union founder Rehavam Ze'evi as "transfer."
"We will have to expel the great majority of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria," Eitam urged, referring to the whole of the West Bank.
According to Eitam, experience showed that Israel cannot give up the area of the West Bank. "It is impossible with all of these Arabs, and it is impossible to give up the territory. We've already seen what they're doing there."
Turning to the subject of Israeli Arabs, Eitam said, "We will have to take another decision, and that is to sweep the Israeli Arabs from the political system. Here, too, the issues are clear and simple.
"We've raised a fifth column, a league of traitors of the first rank. Therefore, we cannot continue to enable so large and so hostile a presense within the political system of Israel."
Beilin: Bring Eitam to trialYossi Beilin, the leader of the left-wing Meretz party, urged Attorney General Menachem Mazuz Monday to bring Eitam to trial on charges of incitement to racism.
Beilin's call was based on an amendment to the law which grants lawmakers immunity from prosecution. The amendment lifts the immunity from legislators who incite to racism or ethnic prejudice. Earlier in the day, Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan called on Mazuz to open an investigation against Eitam, on suspicion of incitement and sedition.
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) said Monday that "Eitam's remarks would have been more authentic, had they been delivered in German."
"These are irresponsible statements," Tibi told the radio, "directed at the lowest level of the racism surging within Israeli society."
"A long time ago the racists and fascists moved from the Israeli street to the Israeli government and the halls of power" added Tibi.
Peace Now leader Yariv Oppenheimer said that the words of Eitam "show that the dogma of [slain extreme right-wing Rabbi Meir] Kahane is alive and well. In a moment of candor, the mask was removed from Eitam's face, exposing him as a leader of fantasy and racism."
Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh said that the attack on the representatives of Arab citizens of Israel was an attempt to "delegitimize the Arab population entirely and to negate their right to voice their opinions and participate in the political process."
According to Barakeh, the measures proposed by Eitam are already being implemented, as the Palestinians, "are witness to many steps to push them aside and expel them from their homeland, among them the security fence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The policies of siege, starvation, and negation of the basic right of human dignity are a means of extremely dangerous ethnic expulsion.
"You don't need trucks to transfer Palestinians."