Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh on Saturday called on former prime minister and Democratic Union member Ehud Barak to drop out of the Sept. 17 Knesset race.

In a Facebook post, Odeh condemned Barak for a Facebook post in which the former prime minister called on Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to temper the police’s reaction to the escalating protests against Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Following several arrests during the weekly protest near Mandelblit’s home in Petach Tikvah—a weekly occurrence expressing the frustration of some who believe the attorney general is dragging his feet in the investigations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Barak wrote: “Erdan, Petach Tikvah is not Umm al-Hiran, civilians are allowed to protest.”

Umm al-Hiran is a Bedouin village that has been at the center of diplomatic controversy ahead of its planned demolition.

In response, Odeh wrote: “Barak, protesting is allowed in Umm al-Hiran as well, and Arab citizens are also allowed to protest.”

Odeh was wounded during a 2017 protest in Umm al-Hiran.

“Nineteen years have passed since you were responsible for the killing of 13 Arab citizens because they took to the streets,” Odeh continued. “Nineteen years since you betrayed the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who voted for you in the direct election against Benjamin Netanyahu. We learned the hard way that there are more important things than the politics of ‘anyone but Bibi.’ ”

Barak apologized in July for the killing of 12 Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian by security forces during clashes in 2000, during Barak’s terms as prime minister. The incident is widely considered to have been the trigger for the Second Intifada

“We have already seen your cynical election apology to Mizrahi Jews,” Odeh continued. “A real show of responsibility would be stepping down from the public stage. In order to replace the right-wing government and fight for a future of partnership, you must be left in the past.”

Responding on Facebook, Barak wrote: “There is no need to help Netanyahu stoke hatred and Odeh knows this well. The misunderstanding of my wording has been clarified: ‘In Umm al-Hiran, the investigation was covered up. This must not happen again.’ Exploiting a misunderstanding for the sake of provoking a fight between Jews and Arabs is not a partnership. It is a continuation of the despicable cooperation with Netanyahu.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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