Retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or accused the state of Israel of ignoring the findings of the probe into the killing of 13 Arab citizens of Israel by the Israeli police in October 2000.
Or, who headed the investigation commission, voiced his criticism during a discussion held by the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee on the implementation of the commission’s conclusions.
‘It seems to me that not enough has been done to implement the recommendations,’ Or said ‘If the government succeeds in pushing forward the recommendations, even slightly, it would be in its benefit.’
Or stated thatÃ‚Â everyoneÃ‚Â who appeared before the commission emphasized that there has been serious discrimination against the Arab population in Israel for many years.
He also criticized the government for failing to implement the affirmative action law, which calls for the appointment of Arabs as directors in government-owned companies.
During the discussion, Hadash-Ta’al MK Mohammad Barakeh said that because of state discrimination against the Arabs in Israel, he, as an Arab, can not be loyal to the state.
‘When I was appointed as Knesset member, I pledged allegiance [to the state], but now I am announcing that I am not loyal to the Zionist-Jewish state,’ said Barakeh. ‘The state needs to serve its citizens, and its citizens don’t need to worship this golden calf.’
OrÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments created an uproar among some Likud MKs. Committee chairman MK Raleb Majadele sparked further outrage by banning MKs from posing questions to Or.
Likud MK Uzi Landau protested the decision, saying, ‘It is inconceivable to have a justice criticize the government and not allow us to respond to this criticism.’
Arab MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe commented that the government had appointed another commission, headed by then Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, to cover up the Or Commission’s findings.
Activist organizations have also described the appointment of the Lapid Commission as an elegant way to avoid implementation of the Or Commission’s findings. Although itÃ‚Â has been almost five years since the events took place, and two years since the Government accepted the Or Commisssion’s recommendations, few of them have been implemented.
The commissionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recommendations were mainly related to the way the State should treat the Arab minority in Israel, who form around 20% of the state’s total population.
Tuesday’s meeting of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee was the first in a series of discussions on the situation of the Arab population in Israel . The goal of these discussions is to direct the attention of government ministries and the public to the dire situation of the Arab population in Israel and to the urgent need to address the problem.
Several government ministers,Ã‚Â including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Ã‚Â may be summoned to attend these discussions, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.