Bereaved families demand Arab lawmaker be suspended from the Knesset

Their Ethics Committee complaint is over the Arab MK’s charge that the IDF is “starving children” and “massacring” Gazans.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Fifty bereaved families demanded Thursday MK Ayman Odeh‘s suspension from the Knesset following his accusation that the IDF was committing a “massacre” in Gaza.

Attorney Itzik Buntzel, father of Sgt. Amit Buntzel, a commanders in the Paratroopers who fell in battle against Hamas in December, penned the group letter to the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.

“Our children fell defending the homeland in the difficult battles of the war we are fighting,” he wrote. “Precisely at this most difficult time, when we must all be united for victory, and when IDF soldiers are doing everything to avoid harming the enemy population – an insolent man stands on the Knesset dais, the place that symbolizes Israeli sovereignty, and opens his mouth against our children and against the IDF.”

Demanding Odeh’s removal from the plenum for the maximum time possible, the families added, “It cannot be possible for a person who is shamefully financed by our tax money, to stand up and say that our children are war criminals who commit murder, massacres and starvation.”

Eleven days ago, the head of the Hadash-Ta’al faction charged in a Knesset speech that “What the army is doing in Gaza is a crime. It’s murder, it’s a massacre, the starvation of children and babies.”

Other MKs shouted him down in anger, and he was removed from the plenum.

Buntzel told Radio 103FM later in the day that “The time has come for us to put an end to this talk of Arab Knesset members, including Jews, doing whatever they want here.”

“He shot in all directions harsh allegations against those soldiers and saints who allow him to walk on this land and live peacefully with his family without him contributing anything to the people of Israel,” he said.

“This is an example of those citizens who live here in the ‘Lala-Land’ of life,” he added. “They have no duties, only rights. Children of terrorists receive benefits from National Insurance, Arab members of the Knesset stand on the stage of the Knesset and time and time again humiliate us, and especially harm our soldiers who are currently fighting as well as the fallen heroes.”

The bereaved father said he had asked other MKs and especially Ofir Katz, the Likud’s faction head, that whenever an Arab MK goes to the podium to speak, they should “Empty the plenum. Let him speak to the chairs, the floor and the ceiling.”

Shai Glick, the head of human rights group Betzalmo who sent a similar letter of complaint to the Ethics Committee, went much further in his own demand.

“Whoever calls IDF soldiers ‘murderers’ belongs in jail and not in the Knesset,” he stated.