Renowned Israeli poet Natan Zach sparked controversy anew Monday when he published an ad in Haaretz showing support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The simple announcement reads as follows: "To Abu Mazen [Abbas] blessings on your way to the International Criminal Court at the Hague." It is signed by the poet in the bottom left-hand corner.
The ad comes several days after the International Criminal Court announced it would begin a preliminary investigation into possible Israeli "war crimes" committed in Gaza and Judea and Samaria, including during last summer's Operation Protective Edge.
The Palestinian Authority formally joined the international body earlier this month.
This is not the first time the award-winning Zach, known for his radical left-wing views, used a paid advertisement in Haaretz to show his support for Abbas and his positions.
In early October, Zach published an ad following the United Nations speeches given by the Israeli and PA leaders which read: "Mahmoud Abbas' claim – the truth. Netanyahu's claims – tall tales."
In an interview with Army Radio, Zach tried to explain the publication of the notice, defending Abbas' accusation against Israel of "genocide" during Operation Protective Edge
"Worse, or at least no less worse, things have been said by Israeli politicians than what Abbas said about genocide,” he said.
“To some extent, in a moment of anger after they pushed him around in failed talks over the course of a year and more, he blurted out an unfortunate word.”
“For Abbas, this is genocide, a small genocide,” he added.
In the same interview Zach expressed his opposition to Israeli communities near Gaza. "Look at the map. They wrapped them [the communities] around shabby little Gaza and established a network of kibbutzim. Why there? The Negev is extremely large. That's not genocide, that's 'enveloping with love.'"
MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) responded to Monday’s ad on her Facebook page, saying that Zach “supports diplomatic terror against Israel.”
Meanwhile, Knesset members Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) and Gila Gamliel (Likud) quoted a verse from Isaiah 49 to imply that Zach was a “destroyer” of Israel.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) also attacked Zach, saying, "The ad released today by Natan Zach – once a valued poet who is now a pro-Palestinian provocateur whose old age disgraces his youth – is an indication of the radical post-Zionist conflict. Pitiful."
"If there is a worthy Zionist Left, then those who call themselves the 'Zionist Camp' [Labor-Hatnua] – not I – should denounce this debasement."