Ukrainian authorities are working ‘shamelessly’ with neo-Nazis, some Arab lawmakers say
Both Arab parties in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, skipped a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with one saying the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv was being mischaracterized in Western media.
Only one in 10 Arab lawmakers joined the Zoom conference with Zelensky on Sunday. It was Walid Taha of the Ra’am (Joint List) party, which is part of Israel’s ruling coalition. Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas snubbed the event as he addressed a conference in the city of Haifa at the time.
The opposition Joint Arab List, which brings together four Arab parties and holds six seats in parliament, boycotted the Ukrainian president’s speech altogether.
This decision was announced beforehand by the left-wing Hadash party, which leads the alliance. Its only Jewish member, Ofer Kassif, explained on Saturday that “Contrary to claims we hear in the Western media, and also hear day and night, that this war is like the war of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness…but it is not. “
“For years there have been crimes against the Russian minority in Ukraine,” Kassif said, apparently referring to up to 14,000 people killed in kyiv’s attacks on the breakaway Donbas republics since 2014 and the crackdown on the use of the Russian language by Ukrainian authorities.
“In Ukraine, the regime works shamelessly hand in hand with neo-Nazi militias like Azov. It’s the truth. There are no Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness here,” underlined the legislator.
However, Kassif said he was still against the Russian military operation in Ukraine and urged Moscow to quickly withdraw its forces from the neighboring country.
“Our position is that NATO and its leader, America, imposed this war,” A spokesperson for the Joint List and HadAsh leader Mansour Dahamsheh told The Times of Israel on Sunday.
One of Moscow’s demands during the ongoing peace talks with kyiv is that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country, so that it cannot be part of NATO’s eastward expansion, which Russia considers it a major threat to its national security.
During his speech, Zelensky, who is Jewish, shamed Israel for not doing enough to help kyiv during the conflict and for refraining from sanctioning Russia. He insisted that the Jewish state send in air defense systems and other weapons, while comparing events in Ukraine to the Holocaust.
This last point angered many Jewish parliamentarians, who accused the Ukrainian leader of twisting history and trying “to erase the involvement of the Ukrainian people in the extermination of the Jews”. Zelensky’s statement “borders on Holocaust denial”, Yuval Steinitz of the Likud party insisted.
The Israeli government was less emotional, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanking Zelensky for “to share his feelings and the distress of the Ukrainian people” with the Knesset. “We will continue to provide assistance to the Ukrainian people in every possible way,” he added. he stated.
Moscow sent its troops to Ukraine in late February, after a seven-year stalemate over kyiv’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics with capitals in Donetsk and Luhansk . The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to regularize the status of these regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.