“The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF [Israeli army] soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter [Gaza],” said Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Wednesday.
“Therefore I call on the prime minister who we all support in this difficult hour, before we send the IDF into Gaza, we should simply shut down their electricity,” he added.
Feiglin made these calls for war crimes – heard in the video above – during a session from which he expelled three Palestinian members for criticizing Israel’s full-scale bombardment of Gaza which has claimed more than one hundred Palestinian lives since Monday.
A member of Israeli prime minister’s ruling Likud party, Feiglin has long been an activist in radical Jewish organizations that aim to replace occupied Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque with a Jewish “Third Temple.”
During the same session, another member of parliament stated that Israeli missiles were good for Palestinians in Gaza. These comments are in tune with an atmosphere of intense incitement that has included lawmaker Ayelet Shaked taking to Facebook to call for genocide of the Palestinian people.
Arab members forcibly silenced
The nearly 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel have the right to vote and be elected to the Knesset, a fact that Israel apologists often use to claim that Israel is an exemplary democracy.
But as demonstrated by the segments in the video above, edited and subtitled by Boycott from Within activist Ronnie Barkan, freedom of expression only goes so far.
When lawmaker Ibrahim Sarsour of the United Arab List party condemned Israel’s attack on Gaza, Feiglin orders guards to forcibly remove him from the podium and expel him.
“Those who refer to Israeli soldiers as murderers will not stay here another second,” Feiglin states.
The video shows Ahmed Tibi of the Arab Movement for Change condemning the incitement by Israeli leaders and rabbis that led to the 2 July kidnap and murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khudair. He reads the names of Palestinian children killed in the bombing of Gaza while he is constantly heckled.
“The IDF is committing war crimes,” Tibi charges.
Feiglin calls Tibi “the representative for the martyrs” and declares, “there are no war crimes.”
Knesset member Masud Ghanayim challenged Feiglin’s ban.
“You have massacred, you have murdered! And in Gaza, up to this moment, you murder,” he tells the parliament.
“And the army is an army of murderers, and you may kick me off the stage,” he says.
Later, on his Facebook page, Feiglin boasted about his silencing of criticism.
“Earlier today in the Knesset, I expelled 3 Arab MKs [Knesset members] from the plenum for calling our IDF soldiers ‘murderers,’” he wrote. “As long as I am in charge of the deliberations, nobody will get away with such lies.”
He also posted his own video of the expulsions (click the “cc” button to see English captions):
Missiles are good for Gaza
Elazar Stern, a former general and a member of justice minister Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah (“The Movement”) party, responds that “saying that IDF soldiers are murderers is incitement.”
Stern denies the well-documented fact that Israel fires missiles at houses with families inside.
“We only shoot when we know that one mother is destined to cry,” he says. “I’m telling you that if a mother has to cry I’d rather it be the mother of the person trying to kill me and not my mother.”
Still, Stern insisted that bombing Gaza was an act of benevolence on Israel’s part.
“When we shoot at a house in Gaza, it is also in order for Gazans to live better,” he states.
“I’m telling you that the missiles we shoot into Gaza are not only to save lives in Tel Aviv and Asheklon but also to save lives in Gaza,” he adds.
Seventy-seven percent of the people killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza which began on Monday were civilians, according to the UN.
Twenty-one of the dead are children and the death toll keeps rising.