Massive student walkout after MK says Arab-Israelis suffer from occupation

MK Iman Khatib-Yassin tells academic conference that Arab-Israelis “have suffered everyday since the occupation.”

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Dozens of students stormed out of an academic conference last week during a session on the relations between Arabs and Jews in Israeli politics, after an anti-Zionist MK declared that Arab citizens of Israel are Palestinians whom suffer from Jewish discrimination every day.

Ra’am MK Iman Khatib-Yassin made the comments at the Sderot conference of the Kay Academic College in Beersheba.

Khatib-Yassin, who was once a member of the Joint List but switched her allegiance to the Islamist Ra’am party in 2021, said that Arab-Israeli citizens are the victims of Zionist occupation.

“We have reached the point where we have the courage not only to say things, but also to do them. If someone does not want to do something for the sake of coexistence, let them not come to us with complaints,” she said, according to a report from Hebrew language outlet Maariv.

“We must live here in peace, and peace begins where there is no occupation. The true essence of partnership is the recognition of the occupation and discrimination against the Palestinian people…and recognizing [people like] me as having a clear Palestinian identity.”

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She added that Arab-Israelis are “Palestinian residents who live in Israel and have suffered every day since the occupation,” referring to the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948.

Her remarks triggered a large walkout from the room. According to the Maariv report, around half of the attendees left the auditorium.

In March 2021, Khatib-Yassin was placed fifth on Ra’am’s party list. Ra’am earned four seats in the Knesset, leaving her out of the government until the untimely death of MK Said Al-Kharumi.

After Al-Kharumi died unexpectedly of a heart attack in August 2021, Khatib-Yassin took his place in the Knesset.

Khatib-Yassin, who is Israel’s first lawmaker to wear a hijab, but she says she supports women’s rights. She has also said that in her personal life, she observes Islamic law and therefore would not make overnight trips, even in her role as a politician, unless accompanied by an appropriate male chaperone such as her husband or father-in-law.