Israel could ignite a third intifada if it continues to push its 1.2 million Arab citizens into a corner, claims Haneen Zoabi, the Arab member of the Knesset vilified for joining the Gaza aid flotilla.
Zoabi, who was branded a traitor for her participation in the Gaza convoy, warned that Israel was playing with fire. “We accepted a democratic, liberal state, we voted for the Knesset. But we are not just an internal issue – we are the litmus test of the whole problem. If Israel does not recognise this, conditions will deteriorate towards a third intifada.”
But she rejected any suggestion that Israel’s Arab citizens supported violence.
Zoabi rounded on a Hamas leader for suggesting her community could be used during civil unrest as a fifth column, conducting sabotage against the Israeli state. Mohammed Arman, a senior Hamas commander, had said, in a book smuggled out of his Israeli jail, that the role of Palestinian citizens of Israel would be to “harass the occupiers, disrupt their daily routine and undermine their confidence”.
Zoabi said: “We don’t accept that. I don’t even like the word violent. Israel wants us to break the law and we won’t. I did not break any laws by being on the Mavi Marmara” – the Turkish ship which was seized by Israeli forces as it attempted to break the siege of Gaza.