View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, April 26, 2004

No Honor - Part II 

While all of our attention is focused on the Palestinians, the Israeli Arabs may be slipping away, as well.

MK Ilan Shalgi of the secular Zionist party Shinui wants to require all MKs to fly the Israeli flag on Israeli Independence Day. The reaction from one of the religious parties has been disappointing - pointing out that Shinui's hostility to religion deprives Judaism of any meaning. But the reaction from the Arab MKs is downright disloyal:

Arab and Israeli MK's did not hurry out to buy their flags in the wake of Shalgi's demands. MK Wasil Taha (Balad) said "On Independence Day, I observe the [Palestinian] Day of Disaster", he said. "Your Independence Day is a day of tragedy for the Palestinian people. On this day I remember what was done to my people, and what happened to my relatives who are spread out among refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, and what happened to my family that was exiled in 1948".

MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe (UAL) said: "It's a childish request. He can't order me around and tell me what to do. I have no intention of flying the Israeli flag on Independence Day, it's not a day of celebration".

Glad to have them serving in the country's parliament, then. "Not a day of celebration"? Well, if one looks at things strictly as a racial issue, I can see where one might have a problem. After all, it's a country where the Arabs occasionally hold a balance of power, but don't actually exercise much authority. On the other hand, if Mr. Taha, or Mr. Dehamshe lived in countries where Arabs were running things, they'd most likely be either trotting out excuses for torture chambers and mass executions, or be a victim of those things themselves. So maybe a moment's reflection might lead them to celebrate - just a little - that they get to serve as elected representatives in a democracy.

Any particular reason they threw a hissy fit when Sharon proposed putting them under Arafat's rule?

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