MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) harshly criticized MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) for a Facebook post attacking former
president Shimon Peres in Arabic, while Peres lies in a hospital bed fighting for his life following a stroke. Ghattas called Peres a tyrant and wrote that Palestinian blood “covers him from head to toe.” In an interview with Ynet, MK Frej said that Ghattas’s post “lacks wisdom.”
“Let us remember in his death his true essence as a tyrant,” Ghattas’s post said. “He was directly responsible for various atrocities and war crimes which he committed against us…He is completely covered with our (Palestinians’) blood. We must remember that he is one of the pillars of the arrogant, imperialist Zionist enterprise, and of the settler enterprise, along with being one of the most heinous, most brutal, and oldest in terms of age and results. He is the one who inflicted the most damage and brought a plethora of disasters to the Palestinian nation and to the Arab world. Yet despite all of this, Peres is viewed as a dove, and even won the Nobel Peace Prize,” Ghattas’s Facebook post read.
Responding to the comments, MK Frej wrote: “I am very sorry that this is the opinion of MK Ghattas and a minority (of Israeli-Arabs). The majority of Arab society thinks otherwise. (Ghattas’s) goal is to provoke. I’m turning to everyone who is considered a leader in Arab society, everyone who has something to contribute to the strengthening of relations between Arabs and Jews in this country, welcome! Whoever doesn’t have anything to contribute should shut up and not bother those who do. The things he said have no place in society and should be condemned.”
MK Frej also praised Peres’s contributions and attempts to bridge gaps between Arabs and Jews in Israel. “He was very important for the relations between Arabs and Jews within the state. He spoke about it on more than one occasion,” wrote Frej. “Ghattas won the support of a minority. Sometimes you have to be radically different and I am sorry that some politicians choose that path. These things seriously hurt the Arab population of the country.”
Asked what he would personally say to Ghattas, Frej responded, “I would tell him it’s better to be quiet. MK Basel, you made a grave mistake and caused damage to the Arab public and relations within the country. The majority of Arab society looks at the positive things that Peres has done. There is resentment, anger and disappointment in the things MK Ghattas said.”
MK Ghattas later issued a response to the criticism of his post, saying, “The media buzz around the post I published is hysterical and unintelligible. All I did was write my position, which reflects how this man was seen in the Palestinian collective memory and narrative as a main leader of the Zionist enterprise. This is a political opinion and position that has no bearing on my personal position toward Mr. Peres and his family during this difficult time.”