Arab MK Jamal Zahalka is no stranger to controversy bordering on sedition – in early February he together with two colleagues visited the families of terrorists and prayed for their souls – but on Thursday he surpassed himself in a thinly veiled call for violence.
Speaking to the Palestinian Al-Watan news site, the MK on Thursday called to prevent Jews "at all costs" and "by any means" from visiting the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism.
"The continuation of the intifada depends on the decision of the Palestinian factions. Will the factions strengthen the popular struggle or leave it to the youths and lone individuals," Zahalka said of the current terror wave.
He called to enlist Arab youths to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount at all costs, saying, "the third intifada was born due to these ascents (to the site)."
Zahalka also inflated the death count of Palestinian Arabs killed during the 2000 Second Intifada or Oslo War, in which 3,333 Arabs were killed according to official counts, with most of them killed in the act of attacking Jews. Over 1,000 Jewish victims were murdered in the Arab terror war.
"The ascents to Al-Aqsa Mosque are increasing and we must stop it by any means. The Palestinian nation paid a price of 4,000 dead during the Al-Aqsa intifada in 2000," claimed the MK.
"Our Palestinian nation adheres to Al-Aqsa Mosque and will defend it with all its strength, the Palestinian nation is the shield for the holy sites in Jerusalem."
The Arab MK went on to accuse Israel, in whose Knesset he sits, of demolishing homes in the Shiloah (Silwan) neighborhood of Jerusalem, without noting the houses were built illegally – currently there are over 40,000 illegal Arab housing units in the capital according to officials.
Without citing sources to ground his claims he also accused Israel of forced immigration against Bedouin Arabs in the Negev, where again rampant illegal construction and theft are huge issues.
"Israel demolishes dozens of homes and lots in the Arab Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan which is close to Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel is trying to rule our land in the Negev and conduct an immigration of the families there. There are 40,000 citizens in danger of immigration in the Negev."
He added, "Israel is trying to implement the colonialist Zionist plan which has continued over 100 years. Organizations of Zionist settlers are trying to encircle the Arabs and take their land. They are negating their rights to live."
"The blood is on his hands"
Zahalka's interview brought a furious outpouring of condemnation from other MKs, who noted with shock his direct calls to use "any means" while discussing the terror wave.
MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) pointed out that Zahalka mentioned the Arabs who died in the Second Intifada, "and the advice he gives for a continuation of the intifada in the (West) Bank and Jerusalem leave no room for doubt about his interests."
"A member of the Israeli Knesset who encourages incitement and violence and gives PR for dangerous activities against the state is someone who you cannot just (ignore) and go about the daily agenda with. This must be put to an end once and for all."
More condemnation came in from MK Nava Boker (Likud), who declared, "the blood of the next (victims to be) killed is on the hands of Zahalka."
"Zahalka is playing a game of cat and mouse with Israeli democracy. First he incites, later he gets a ridiculous punishment of suspension and then he once again incites," she said, noting the light penalty he and two other Arab MKs received for comforting the families of terrorists.
"Just now the laughable punishment he received of two months suspension ended and already he is inciting again. Maybe the Ethics Committee and the police should understand that we are dealing with a man who is hoping to see Jewish blood spilled like water ahead of the Passover holiday?"
Boker called "to remove the (parliamentary) immunity from Zahalka, launch an investigation and arrest him before it is too late. His place is in jail."
Joining in on the criticism was MK Shuli Muallem (Jewish Home), who said, "Knesset member Zahalka continues and works to incite, he has a rich record of incitement activities."
"Zahalka needs to move his seat from the Knesset in Jerusalem to his natural location in the Mukataa in Ramallah. His activities integrate nicely with the Palestinian incitement campaign."