Israeli Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi of the Joint List lashed out at Netanyahu’s comments saying, “He [Netanyahu] should realize that no matter Israel’s institutionalized system of discrimination, this is our homeland and we are here to stay.”
The Knesset member stressed that Palestinian citizens of Israel are not foreign immigrants, adding that they “lived there long before the Zionist movement was created. They are those who later survived the Nakba of 1948, where 85% of the Palestinians living in what is now Israel were ethnically cleansed only because they were not Jews.”
Tibi addressed Netanyahu saying that, “Over 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel will continue to challenge your racist attitude and systematic denial of human rights, including dozens of laws that only target non-Jews in Israel.”
“We will continue with our demands for equal rights in the place that we have inhabited for generations, rather than taking over the land of another people living under a foreign military occupation.”
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) September 11, 2016
“It is time for Mr. Netanyahu and his extremist government to understand reality: No matter how many tweets or videos they issue, no matter his strong support for colonizing the Occupied State of Palestine or his constant racism against his own non-Jewish, Palestinian citizens, he won’t be able to make us feel as strangers in our own homeland.”
Tibi added, “Mr. Netanyahu should memorize the words of the Palestinian poet from Al Birwa, Mahmoud Darwish: “And here I am. I am I. And here is here. I am I. And I am here. Here.” This is the message of over 1.5 million of Palestinian citizens to him and his racist newspeak.’
Tibi is the deputy speaker of Israel’s Knesset, representing the Arab Joint List. He is the leader of the Ta’al (the Arab Movement for Change) party.
Netanyahu just said that people who are against illegal settlements are fans of ethnic cleansing. For real. pic.twitter.com/qttsufL4bF
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 11, 2016
Netanyahu’s comments came under fire by Washington, calling them “inappropriate and unhelpful”.
Israel has come under harsh criticism for a spike in illegal settlement activity in recent months, with plans for thousands of housing units moving forward in various stages in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.