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Israeli minister: Arabs are 'guests'; Israel is 'promised' land

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli Arabs protest against violence, organized crime and recent killings among their communities, in the Arab town of Majd al-Krum in northern parts of the occupied lands, on October 3, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich says Arabs are "guests" in Israel as he unleashes a barrage of racially-laced attacks on Palestinians. 

Smotrich accused Arabs of having "a habit" of shooting into the air to express their feelings, prompting Palestinian lawmakers in the Knesset to denounce the minister as "racist". 

The minister's outburst came after Arab lawmakers boycotted the first Knesset session and instead joined demonstrations against police inaction on spiraling violence against the Arab society in Israel. 

Smotrich took to Twitter, saying, "We are in luck that the Arabs boycotted the opening ceremony of the 22nd Knesset. 

"They would have shot into the air to express happiness/sadness/their protest/ because that's their habit, and then, of course, blame the police," he added. 

On Thursday, thousands of Arabs rallied in several cities and towns including Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm, Shfaram, Tamra, Majdal Krum, and Kfar Qasim in Israel as the new Knesset was sworn in. 

Lawmaker Ahmad Tibi said the 13 Arab lawmakers of the Arab-majority party in the Knesset would be absent from the opening ceremony to "protest against the wave of murders and violence" targeting Arabs. 

Smotrich's remarks triggered a chorus of outcry, with another Arab lawmaker Ayman Odeh saying Friday, "I'm surprised the racist [Smotrich] didn't take our seats and claimed God told him they are his."  

Bezalel Smotrich speaks at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, September 21, 2019. 

Smotrich stuck to his guns, retorting, "I was just scared to find an illegal gun under the chair so you could also blame the Knesset guard and not just the Israeli police.

"And since you brought it up then yes – God did promise us all of the Land of Israel, a promise he kept," he added. 

Aida Touma-Sliman, another Arab lawmaker, waded into the row, tweeting that she remembers how in 2015 Smotrich, then a newly elected Knesset member, asked if he can bring his weapon into parliament.

“Smotrich is still the same racist he used to be and carries a weapon despite the fact he is poses danger to the public," she said.

Smotrich then replied: “When many of your people, who have been doing that [carrying weapons] for a century, will stop wanting to murder us, with the encouragement of you and your terror-backing friends at the Knesset, I will happily give up my pistol.”

Some 700,000 Palestinians were forcefully expelled from their lands following the illegal creation of the Israeli entity in 1948 and were scattered across refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring countries.

Palestinians view the UK's Balfour Declaration as a prelude to the Israeli occupation of their homeland in 1948.

The declaration was issued on November 2, 1917 and is regarded as one of the most controversial and contested documents in the modern history of the Arab world.

The declaration turned the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine into a reality, when Britain publicly pledged to establish "a national home for the Jewish people" there.

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