Gadhafi to Arab MKs: I'm Against Zionism, Not Jews

Delegation describes meeting as 'wonderful', calls for inclusion of Israel's Arab sector in Arab world.

Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi hosted a delegation of Israeli Arabs, including lawmakers, for a dinner meeting on Sunday evening.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi

During the meeting, Gadhafi stressed the importance with which he viewed the delegation's visit, and said: "We are not against Jews, but against Zionism."

This was the first time Israeli Arab MKs have visited this state in official capacity. Members of the delegation are not traveling on Israeli passports, but using special entry permits issued by Libyan authorities.

During their visit, the Israeli Arab delegation asked the Libyan leader to voice an initiative among Arab states to invite Israeli Arabs to visit, and to accept them as students in their various universities.

Ghadafi responded to the request as saying that Libya would be happy to enroll Israeli Arab students in its schools.

In a text message to Haaretz, MK Taleb Al-Sana described the meeting, which took place in a tent in the city of Surt, as "wonderful."

In his talks with Gadhafi, Al-Sana also compared Israel's occupation of Palestinian land to that of Italian colonialism in Libya, and said he hoped the prior would soon end as the latter did.

The Israeli Arab MK voiced criticism of Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank as "emptying the two-state solution of all meaning."

In response, Gadhafi told the MKs that a "human explosion is stronger than nuclear weapons", advising them to have as many children as possible.

The 40-member delegation to Libya included Knesset members Ahmed Tibi, Mohammed Barakeh, Chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Mohammed Zidan, as well as journalists and religious leaders.

The visit raised a storm of criticism in Israel. MK David Rotem, who chairs the Knesset Constitution Committee, said the MKs must "decide where their loyalty lies."