Caller challenges Israeli Ambassador over Palestinian family's 'inexcusable treatment'

14 May 2021, 12:23

By Fiona Jones

This caller confronted Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely over his Palestinian grandparents being evicted from their homes despite being "older than the state of Israel."

It comes as Israel has called up 9,000 more reservists amid days of ongoing violence in Gaza and Israeli cities.

Violence in the country has escalated throughout the week, with Palestinian militants in Gaza firing around 1000 rockets at Israel after airstrikes killed their senior military figures.

Dozens have died in the most severe outbreak of violence since the 50-day war in 2014, with no resolution in sight and both sides talking up the prospect of a full-scale conflict.

Read more: 'Conflict likely to continue as Israel will fear looking weak after rocket strike,' says analyst

Yussef called in from Harrow to challenges Ms Hotovely: "You believe that every inch...belongs to you and the Palestinians also believe it's theirs too.

"My grandparents lost their registered land and homes in Jaffa [in Jerusalem]...neither of them was granted restitution nor were they allowed to return. But all Jews have an automatic birthright and Palestinians don't.

"My living grandparents are actually both older than the state of Israel. We view this lack of treatment as inexcusable injustice. There's no parity here."

He asked, "Would you support my family and people in our situation going back or deny our rights to return?"

Ms Hotovely responded, "Over a million Jews were expelled from Arab countries and they had to find their refugee in Israel. Jews from Morocco, Jews from Iran, Jews from Egypt, Jews from Syria. All of them were expelled and it was a whole process of Jews leaving their property...never got restitution."

She attributed the reason for the ongoing clash to the Palestinians, telling the caller that when a suggested solution was a Jewish state next to an Arab state "the Jews said yes" however the Palestinians "refused to accept that idea and started a cruel war."

Iain interjected that as Jews were persecuted and driven out of lands they regard as their own, surely the Jews can empathise with the Palestinian plight.

She dismissed this point, "No because you cannot fix the mistakes...the state of Israel was established and as you know there are equal rights to any Arab in Israel."

Read more: Reporter dons bullet proof clothes live on air as stun grenades explode in Israel

Watch again: Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely speaks to LBC