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Israeli-Arab MP Tibi: “I don’t recognize Israel as Jewish”

PA TV interviews Israeli Arab MP Ahmad Tibi:
     Tibi: “What does Palestine and the Palestinian nation have to do with how Israel defines itself and how it is identified? All right, I’m a member of the Israeli parliament and I don’t recognize Israel as Jewish. This is an internal matter. This is the first time in the history of international relations that an existing state has asked a new state -- that wasn’t even in existence during this last year -- that it should recognize its identity.
There are two reasons why the PLO and now the State of Palestine, why it doesn’t make sense to demand that they – as a party outside of Israel – that they should recognize [Israel as a Jewish state]. Firstly, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would mean that the refugee issue – that is on the negotiating table now, and is one of the final status issues – would be eliminated… The second point is that we, 1948 [Arabs], Arab citizens in Israel, the national minority within Israel… when Israel is defined as a Jewish state, and this is what we say from the podium in the Israeli Parliament, this means that the Jewish citizen is preferred over the Arab citizen just because he’s a Jew. Based on race. It cannot be that I should agree to such a thing. It cannot be that I should agree that Jewish citizens be given preferential treatment over my people, over a national minority, just because they’re Jews and we are Arabs. Just think about it: Liberman – who immigrated to this country only yesterday – should be considered better than Ahmad or Muhammad, the original owners of this land, the original inhabitants of this land, the salt of the earth. That doesn’t make sense. That isn’t fair.”
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