Arab MK criticised over conference with Hamas leader, other Palestinian factions

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Arab MK criticised over conference with Hamas leader, other Palestinian factions

Ayman Odeh took part in a press briefing with Fatah Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub and Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, who has a £4m bounty on his head.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, which is the umbrella group of Arab parties in the Knesset
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, which is the umbrella group of Arab parties in the Knesset

Israel’s most senior Arab parliamentarian has been criticised for participating in a press conference featuring rival Palestinian factions and a Hamas leader with a £4 million bounty on his head.

Ayman Odeh, who chairs the Joint List, a collection of Arab Israeli politicians with 15 seats in the Israeli parliament, was chastised for attending the conference with Fatah Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub and Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri.

Despite widespread calls for Palestinian reconciliation over the years, it is highly unusual for a joint press conference to be held between Fatah, which is based in the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, but the two came together on Thursday to “unify efforts” in the fight against annexation.

Odeh attended, urging full reconciliation, but fellow Members of the Knesset (MKs) said the problem was al-Arouri, who is accused of conducting Hamas terror activities in the West Bank, including the kidnap and killing of three teenage settlers in 2014.

US officials have offered $5 million for information that leads to the capture of Al-Arouri, who spoke via an online link from Lebanon, warning that Israel should not “disregard the Palestinian determination” to oppose the annexation at all costs.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said Odeh had “reached a new low” by taking part in the Ramallah press conference “with Hamas members who called to murder Israelis,” while MK Bezalel Smotrich said Odeh should be dismissed.

Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman tweeted: “Ayman Odeh attended a virtual conference of Fatah and Hamas on the virtual annexation of Netanyahu. I hope that Ayman Odeh and his friends will soon become as virtual as the conference.”

Hamas calls for a return to the “armed struggle” in the West Bank are well-received by the Palestinian public, and most analysts think it would win more votes than Fatah if Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas were to hold elections.

Israeli security personnel think annexation would result in violence, pointing to a recent opinion poll by the Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research, which showed that 52 percent supported armed struggle in response.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: