US/World News

Arab Knesset member: Arabs were in Israel first


( During a July 31 Knesset debate on a bill to necessitate a national referendum among Israelis on any peace deal that would require territorial withdrawals, Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly) said the bill was irrelevant because it referred to “occupied territory, and as such, what applies is international law; the referendum should apply to the nations of the world,” Israel Hayom reported. Members of Knesset from the Habayit Hayehudi party subsequently heckled Zahalka, saying, “You are the foreigners in this land.” Zahalka responded, “We were here before you and we will be here after you.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then responded from the Knesset podium, “I did not plan to speak but I heard what MK Zahalka had to say. You said ‘We were here before you and we’ll be here after you’re gone.’ The first part is not true and the second part will never take place.” Netanyahu slammed his hand on the podium before leaving, and his comments were met with applause from much of the Knesset.

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