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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

In the Israeli election, the options are all bleak for the Palestinians

What the Arabic language press is saying about the Israeli election.

Addressing an election rally in the western city of Herzliya in Israel last week, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman called for Arab-Israeli citizens who are not loyal to the state to be beheaded.

Explaining his views about the rights to be conferred on Arab-Israelis, he said: “Those with us should receive everything. Those against us, it cannot be helped, we must lift up an axe and behead them, otherwise we will not survive here.”

Mr Lieberman’s comment, prompted Younis Al Sayyed, a columnist in the Sharjah-based daily Al Khaleej, to note that this was not the first time a Zionist terrorist had threatened to slaughter Palestinians.

“The genocide against Palestinians was born out of the Zionist movement’s womb and implemented by Zionist gangs even before Israel was established,” he wrote.

In reality, the movement’s history abounds with such transgressions, but this is the first time that criminal practices and abominable occupation are so blatantly portrayed as an official state policy.

“When the Israeli foreign minister and terrorist par excellence Avigdor Lieberman threatens to chop off Palestinians’ heads once he becomes the war minister in the next government, his menaces stop being part of an electoral propaganda and become an integral part of his electoral manifesto and an official commitment on his part towards extreme right-wing governments,” he added.

Mr Lieberman’s statements were in response to a Palestinian motion to prosecute him at the International Criminal Court for his role in war crimes against Palestinians.

But Mr Lieberman isn’t the first Israeli official with a criminal track record. He joins a long list of Israeli officials who have perpetrated acts of terrorism against Arabs.

“As a matter of fact, the Israelis’ crimes have surpassed ISIL’s, but the only difference is that the world was able to form an international coalition to combat ISIL, while Israel remains above the law and enjoys the protection of great powers,” Al Sayyed noted.

Jihad Al Khazen, writing in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, noted that when it comes to Palestinians and the peace process, all the contenders in the elections today are equally non-cooperative.

The Likud, led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sabotaged peace talks with the Palestinians, while the opposition Zionist Union party, led by Isaac Herzog, is seeking to negotiate for the sake of negotiations, without any hope for real peace.

Mr Netanyahu is trying to regain the premiership by frightening Israelis by citing Iran’s nuclear programme, ISIL, Hamas and Hizbollah. But the polls seem to indicate that his chances of winning are dim.

“I have said it in the past that Netanyahu is a war criminal and a professional liar and I stand by my opinion,” he said.

“However, I find that the other right-wing parties aren’t in any way better than him. Opposition leaders attack Netanyahu publicly, but they were once his accomplices and worked alongside him to carry out crimes against Palestinians.”

Israel has waged seven wars on Palestine in the past 14 years, the last of which was last summer in Gaza where more than 2,000 Palestinians, including 517 children, were killed.

“They are all war criminals with criminal track records. And if the saying ‘better the devil you know’ were to apply, then, all things considered, Netanyahu would be better for the Palestinians and for the world than his opponents,” Al Khazen concluded.

* Translated by Racha Makarem

rmakarem@thenational.ae

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