Joint List Party head Ayman Odeh called on Sunday for Arab Israeli members of the security forces to lay down their arms, drawing harsh criticism and accusations of incitement.

Speaking in Arabic from Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, Odeh called on Arab Israelis to avoid joining Israeli security forces and told those already enlisted to “throw the weapons in their face,” according to Israel’s Channel 12.

“Our historic position has been that we will be together with our people in order to end the murderous occupation,” said Odeh, according to the report.

The Israeli security forces “are humiliating our people, humiliating our families and humiliating all those who come to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque,” said Odeh. “Youths must not join the occupation forces. I tell the youths that have already joined, who are not more than one percent, in total a few thousand, that their enlistment is insulting and humiliating. I call on them to throw the weapon back in the face [of Israeli forces] and to tell them that our place is not with you. We will not be part of the injustice and crime,” he added.

Following the remarks, the Israel Police has asked state prosecutors to examine whether Odeh’s statements constitute illegal incitement.

Special permission is required from the state prosecution’s office in the Justice Ministry and from the attorney general to enable a police investigation of a serving Knesset member.

Responding to the comments, Israeli Public Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev said: “This is an outrageous, dangerous and irresponsible statement. The service of Arab Israelis in the police is a symbol of coexistence and integration.”

Referring to Israel Police officer 1st Sgt. Amir Khoury, 32, an Arab Israeli police officer killed while confronting a Palestinian terrorist in Bnei Brak on March 29, Bar-Lev said that “Amir Khoury of blessed memory is an Israeli hero. He was an Arab Israeli. Amir was a symbol of coexistence and integration. Police officers from Arab society are an important part … in its struggle against crime and terrorism, and this trend [of Arab Israelis joining the police] will continue to get stronger.”


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