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MK Eitam calls for 'removal' of Arabs

Jerusalem Post | September 11 2006

MK Effi Eitam (NU-NRP), called Sunday for the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank and the removal of Israeli-Arabs from the political scene, Army Radio reported.

Eitam's comments followed a visit to Syria by three Arab Knesset members.

Army Radio on Monday aired the remarks, which Eitam made Sunday at a memorial service for Lt. Amihai Merhavia, who was killed in the battle for Bint Jbail in south Lebanon.

"We have to do three things," Eitam said. "To expel most Arabs from Judea and Samaria. We can't deal with all these Arabs, and we can't give up the territory, because we've already seen what they do there. Some of them might have to stay under certain conditions, but most of them will have to go. We've got to remove Israeli Arabs from the political scene. We've allowed a fifth column to grow here - a group of traitors. We can't have a hostile group like this in our political system. The third thing is that we've got to act against the Iranian nuclear threat."

MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List), in an interview with Army Radio Monday morning, called Eitam's comments "callous" and said that Eitam was suggesting "a forced expulsion of Palestinians from their land. The second point was a political transfer of the elected leadership of the Arab community. If he had said these things in German, they would have sounded more authentic. [His comments] are the lowest form of racism in Israeli society."

Eitam's remarks drew condemnation from Knesset members Monday. Meretz chairman MK Yossi Beilin called Eitam's remarks "racist incitement [that] even crosses the red lines of the extreme right. A Jewish democratic state cannot live with such statements." Beilin and other Meretz members called on Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to press criminal charges against Eitam for "racist incitement."

Mazuz announced Sunday that he would investigate Knesset Members Azmi Bishara, Jamal Zahalka and Wasil Taha (National Democratic Assembly) for visiting Syria without government authorization.

Mazuz's investigation came at the request of Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, who called the trip a criminal offense and demanded that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni revoke the three MKs' passports.

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