Top Israeli Arab Body Condemns Tel Aviv Shooting, Slams Netanyahu

Shooting is a 'serious detour' from 'democratic struggle Arab population has chosen,' High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel says in statement.

Mourners place candles at the scene of a deadly shooting attack in downtown Tel Aviv on January 2, 2016.
Ofer Vaknin

Israeli Arabs' top organization on Sunday severely condemned last week's shooting in Tel Aviv, saying completely contradicts the "democratic struggle which the Arab population has chosen."

The shooting is a "serious detour from the path of the righteous struggle to obtain the rights for the Arab population, and is a gift to the serial agitators against it," the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel said in a statement.

The committee, which includes a wide spectrum of opinions and sections of the Arab population, also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements following the attack, in which he slammed the Arab community and said he "will not accept two states within Israel."

Netanyahu at the site of a shooting that killed two and wounded seven in Tel Aviv, December 2, 2016.
Ofer Vaknin

Netanyahu has headed the incitement against the Arab population in the last 20 years, said the committee's statement. Netanyahu "turned incitement into an ideology and a lever to promote his political interests," said the statement. "He is the last person who can preach to the Arab population and its leadership."

"Netanyahu's statements about two states within Israel lead right back to him, since he is the one who established the state of occupation and the state of settlers, and the state of 'price tags', standing behind each racist and anti-democratic legislation, and set up the state of the rich and of the tycoons, and blocked every way to peace and true equality," said the statement.  

At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected criticism of his remarks against the Israeli-Arab community.

Netanyahu said that the government is "making a very large effort to ensure Israel is state under unified law," saying that "it's true that I am not impressed by criticism in this regard. This is true for all Israeli citizens - Jews and Arabs alike."

Netanyahu added: "Law enforcement is the lifeblood of democracy, of the rule of law. We do not limit to one community or focus on one community. This morning, we filed indictments against the two suspects behind Duma. We oppose all murder, we are against violence wherever it is and violations of state law wherever they may occur."