UK Friends of Standing Together @omdimbeyachadUK

Ayman Odeh: “The national rights of both people must be recognised”

We publish below a translation of a speech by Palestinian socialist Ayman Odeh, a member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), given at a Jewish-Arab Solidarity Rally in Haifa on 4 November, organised by Standing Together.


In these days, we commemorated the most terrible day: the day in which the largest number of Jews were killed since 1948, and this month in which the largest number of Palestinians were killed since 1948. To you, Jews and Arab,s who are here together – my appreciation. Much appreciation for each and every one of you!

Every truly human being should stand firm and denounce the terrible massacre and harming the innocent in the most obvious way. 

I stood in the Knesset and said: “Even the damned occupation does not justify harming the innocent. It’s a value position, it’s a political position. But before the political position, it’s a moral one.” 

You don’t know how proud I am of the Palestinian people, how proud I am of their righteous struggle against the occupation. How proud I am of the Palestinian people who stand up against mighty forces in the world and don’t give up. But harming the innocent is a black mark on the forehead of any nation’s struggle, no matter how righteous the struggle is, it is absolutely forbidden to harm innocent citizens. 

Friends! Jewish-Arab coexistence will not necessarily succeed every time in bringing peace without a Jewish-Arab partnership, but there will be no peace without a Jewish-Arab partnership. 

Exactly 28 years ago, on 4 November, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Now in this event we defeat this murder, and from here we continue the path for peace.

On 4 November exactly 100 years ago, 4 November, 1923 Jabotinsky published his famous article on the “Iron Wall”. I think, even if people argue about theory, at least they won’t argue about reality, what “iron wall” is he talking about? A year has passed, 10 years, 50 years, 100 years. What are you talking about? Where is this iron wall? Peace is the iron wall, so you have to move forward. 

We are two complicated nations. The calendar is full of events- Rabin’s assassination, the anniversary of the Jabotinsky article, two days ago on 2 November, the Balfour Declaration, on 15 November, the independence day of the Palestinian people, on 29 November, the partition day [the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people]. We are complicated.

I think we should all fight for one day, which will take precedence over all days, and that is the day of peace. This is our mission!

Friends, this is not a pleasant statement, the peace… two nations live here. Hope not a single human being will get killed. But if they kill and get killed, to our great regret, seven million Jews and seven million Palestinians will remain here. The national rights of both peoples must be recognised. Yes, country next to country. This is the solution. 

Friends, Haifa does not live on a desert island, we are affected and we affect. But if that’s the case, then the Haifa spirit should affect everyone. Here, the stone was chosen by the builders. It will become a cornerstone in our victory. May strength be with all of you.