There are few questions as controversial as the one regarding the first occupants of Israel, which—as you may or may not have heard—has had a few issues regarding settlement over the past seven decades. The most recent chapter in this saga was added Wednesday with a brief verbal confrontation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jamal Zahalka, an Arabian member of the Israeli Knesset, the country’s parliament.
According to Israel Hayom:
“Late Wednesday night, the Knesset voted on a bill to make the controversial ‘referendum law’ a basic law, which would necessitate a national referendum on any peace deal that would require territorial withdrawals.
“During the plenum debate, Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly) said that the bill was irrelevant because it referred to ‘occupied territory, and as such, what applies is international law; the referendum should apply to the nations of the world.’
“Zahalka was subsequently heckled by Habayit Hayehudi lawmakers, who said, ‘You are the foreigners in this land,’ to which Zahalka responded, ‘We were here before you and we will be here after you.’”
Then, Netanyahu raised his hand to indicate he had a response, and rebuked Zahalka with the following: "I did not plan to speak but I heard what MK Zahalka had to say. You said 'We were here before you and we'll be here after you're gone.' The first part is not true and the second part will never take place," said Netanyahu.
In Sept. 2012, Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly, “The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. The masses of our people never gave up the dream of returning to our ancient homeland. Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home.”