(JNS.org) While the Knesset on Wednesday night voted on a bill to necessitate a
national referendum among Israelis on any peace deal that would require
territorial withdrawals, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who did not have
any planned remarks, responded to an Arab Member of Knesset (MK) who said Arabs
were in Israel first.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Cherie Cullen via Wikimedia Commons.
During the plenum debate on the referendum bill, 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.”
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