Expulsion of Arabs Starts in the Knesset

Anyone who declares publicly that he wants to expel the Arabs is not only asking for the authority to rule, but also wants the authority to expel. And it begins with expulsion from the Knesset.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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MKs Basel Ghattas, Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zakalka from the Joint Arab List's Balad faction.
MKs Basel Ghattas, Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zakalka from the Joint Arab List's Balad faction.Credit: Noam Moskowitz
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

What did ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi want, after all? He only wanted to govern without being harassed by the Egyptian High Court of Justice and the Cairo version of the B’tselem human rights organization. The same is true of Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The guys want to run the affairs of state without the headache of no-confidence proposals, and when it comes to Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), maybe also without the petty harassment of journalists who go all the way to Hong Kong in order to torpedo his appointment for governor of the Bank of Israel.

It's a good thing that the so-called Governability Law, which was passed last week, didn't include a paragraph ordering a curfew between 2 and 4 P.M., in order not to disturb mid-day siesta of the tired rulers.

The Arabs understood the ploy and said in their picturesque language: "He who doesn't know how to dance complains that the floor is crooked." After all, what is preventing Netanyahu and Lieberman from governing? In their previous term they had a solid majority, and now, with the Inquisition that has been revived in the form of Yesh Atid, they have an even more solid majority. They can do whatever they like with this majority. Who is preventing them from annexing the West Bank? Who is preventing them from imposing Israeli law in the occupied territories? After all, they want it with all their hearts. The problem lies with their principles, which are not "governable," because they, as the old Arab put it, are like carob pods – "crooked and black."

The governability which they desire leads to a terrible injustice. Because anyone who declares publicly that he wants to expel the Arabs is not only asking for the authority to rule, but also wants the authority to expel. And it begins with expulsion from the Knesset. After all, no faction that relies on the votes of the Arab population is able to pass the high electoral threshold that Lieberman is positing. Expulsion from the Knesset is the key to expulsion from other areas of life, and as the Arabic poem goes: "A downpour begins with raindrops."

The good guys will say: The Arabs must unite against this assault. It's true that the unity of a deprived population, with all its ideological layers, is crucial, especially during the period of the rule of "the carob pods." But why deny the Arabs the right to be varied. After all, just as nature is varied, public discourse should be varied. Really, why does the Arab have to "choose" only a single slate. The choice among different options is not a privilege but a right, and is even a necessity for development. And just as a Jew is not forced to vote for a slate containing ultra-Orthodox and liberals and right and left, so the Arab also deserves to be a human being – he also deserves to distinguish and choose.

Despite the witch hunt against the Arab MKs, their crucial role in repelling attacks from the extreme right is becoming clear, and it is also becoming clear that without them the sane element will be unable to reach a position of equilibrium with the right. That's why they are victims of defamation by the racist right: There are some who dub them collaborators with the enemy and there are some, on the other hand, who bemoan their failure to promote Arab issues. As though the government ministries are wide open to them, all they have to do is push through development budgets, infrastructure, industrial zones, universities, housing, areas of jurisdiction. What a crock! They discriminate, and then they blame the victim for not helping himself.

There have been so many black days in the Knesset that the black has already faded. So instead, let's mark the white days, because that is really surprising news. In spite of everything there is a new wind blowing in the Knesset, and as a person who is eternally hopeful, whose entire attention is attracted by a lone flower in a field of thorns, I can't help but be moved by the sight of Jewish MKs, both democrats and Haredim, identifying with their Arab brothers in their fight against the expulsion order from the Knesset. This is also evident in the fact that the Prawer Plan Law - which will relocate some 30,000 Negev Bedouin - barely passed. They say that it's always darkest before dawn. Maybe in spite of everything a new dawn is breaking on the horizon?

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