The country’s Arab parliamentarians managed this week to surpass even their own most strident incitement against the state that bankrolls them and guarantees their rights to subvert it. Speaking in Sakhnin at the 12th memorial to the 13 Arabs shot dead during the October 2000 riots, MKs Ahmed Tibi and Taleb a-Sanaa in effect agitated for violent vengeance, thereby ramping up already inordinately confrontational rhetoric.
This wasn’t just more of their by-now-pervasive in-your-face insolence – the sort to which we’ve already grown inured. This time there were exhortations for an operative translation by fellow Israeli-Arabs of the escalated bellicosity.
Not much could be left to the imagination when a-Sanaa railed: “If the government fails to do justice, we shall. If it fails to punish the criminals, we shall.”
Tibi was hardly more circumspect: “We shall not forget and we shall not forgive. The criminals must be prosecuted and punished. A state which kills its own citizens, and rewards their murderers, is a state which conducts itself with criminal racism.”
This isn’t inconsequential nattering, enunciated today and evaporated tomorrow. A-Sanaa in effect urged Israeli Arabs to take justice into their own hands – or what they claim to be justice.
Tibi honed a fraudulent sense of victimhood and concomitantly the delegitimization of Israel as both criminal and racist. This follows countless provocative acts and statements, including junkets to Mideastern capitals where Israeli-Arab MKs unequivocally sided with the existential enemy of the state whose taxpayers foot their bills and in whose parliament they serve.
The inflammatory oratory, moreover, willfully promotes a skewed version of the 2000 riots (which not incidentally coincided with the launching of Yasser Arafat’s intifada just then). Falsehoods are elevated to an axiomatic historiography when all mention is omitted of the fact that rampaging Israeli-Arabs besieged dozens of communities within Israel 12 years ago.
A Jewish civilian, Bechor Zhan, driving south from Haifa, was killed by a rock that Jisr e-Zarka youths hurled at his car.
Throughout the North, motorists were violently dragged from their vehicles, asked if they were Jews and forced to show their IDs to ascertain their ethnicity. This is what happened to Ya’acov Ben-Hamo of Kibbutz Beit Alfa when driving between Umm el-Fahm and Afula. Fifteen masked Arabs pulled him from his automobile, burned it and kicked him mercilessly. He was barely rescued by a passing bus driver.
The ambulance eventually summoned to treat Gershon Adani’s severe wounds couldn’t get through the Arab mob’s roadblock. Adani was assaulted while driving to his home, near Acre. When his Jewishness was established, a whooping war cry went up: “Yahudi [Jew]!” It was immediately followed by the bloodcurdling “Itbach el-Yahud [slaughter the Jew]!”
Adani was pelted with bricks and rocks and beaten to a pulp for being a Jew. He somehow managed to flee, with his attackers in hot pursuit. He hid, bruised and bleeding, in a fruit grove while they prowled about, trying to locate him and finish the job.
Simultaneously other Arabs, in Jaffa – a hop and a skip from Bat Yam and downtown Tel Aviv – singled out Jewish stores to vandalize. They marked the windows of businesses not owned by Arabs, so that only Jewish property would be ransacked – not unlike what the Nazis did throughout Germany prior to undertaking the Final Solution.
These weren’t isolated incidents. At the Nitzanei Oz Industrial Park in central Israel, which provides employment for Arabs from nearby towns, frenzied men burned four plants to a cinder.
It behooves the leadership of Israel’s Arabs to remind its electorate that those who wish to enjoy the perks of Israeli citizenship cannot claim the liberty to abuse that citizenship in order to facilitate the brutal murder of fellow citizens and eventually destroy the state itself.
Incendiary speechifying from Israeli-Arab public figures does a grave disservice foremost to their own communities.
Reiterated lies trap ordinary folk in a vicious cycle of self-deception and self-imposed isolation. Disingenuous politicians confine their voters in a subjective counterfeit reality, which provides fertile ground for further incitement, violence and terror.
The radicalization of the Israeli-Arab sector becomes a cynical vote-getting formula, and this is foremost that sector’s homemade tragedy.