An Israeli lawmaker was criticized today after he boarded a bus full of Palestinians traveling from Gaza to visit relatives who are detainees in Israeli prisons, and called them “dogs” and “terrorists” in a video he posted of the encounter to social media. In adjoining tweets, Oren Hazan from the ruling Likud party explained he staged yesterdays’ scene in an effort to pressure Hamas’ leadership to return the Israelis held in captive Gaza.
“No, it’s not a question of family visits-this is a reality that must stop, and that’s why I came to confront the beasts,” Hazan wrote yesterday. He further said the Palestinian passengers were “human scum.”
Hamas is believed to be holding two Israeli citizens inside of Gaza as well as the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2014 war.
In a broadcast of event, Hazan is seen entering the bus as it neared Nafha prison in southern Israel. He was accompanied by a television crew from Israel’s Yediot Ahronot. Footage from the outlet shows Hazan taunting the Palestinians, “We will erase the ugly smiles from your face,” he said. Outside, about a dozen others stood by, some hoisting Israeli flags. Not pictured, are uniformed Israeli police who are responsible for providing security to the buses and controlling the entry and exit of passengers once inside of Israel.
לפני כשעה יצאו חמאסניקים מעזה לכיון כלא נפחא לביקור החלאות שהם רואים בהם משפחה.
קצת לפני, יצאתי גם אני מביתי באריאל לכיון הכלא.
לא, זו לא התחלה של שאלה בפסיכומטרי – ביקורי המשפחות זו מציאות שחייבים לעצור ולכן באתי כדי להתעמת עם משפחות חיות האדם.
אני כבר כאן מחכה שיגיעו, אעדכן. pic.twitter.com/a9UoQiMuSY
— אורן חזן (@oren_haz) December 25, 2017
קבלו פייק ניוז תוצרת חמאס!
חנזירי החמאס אירגנו לעצמם מצעד גאווה למשפחות חלאות האדם שחזרו בבושת פנים לעזה, כדי לגרד מהרצפה מעט מהכבוד האבוד שלהם אחרי שהעמדתי אותם במקומם.
הפחדנים מהרצועה גם סיפרו לעולם שהתעמתתי רק עם זקנה, הסרטון הבא מדבר בעד עצמו… pic.twitter.com/aXBfIAchqc
— אורן חזן (@oren_haz) December 25, 2017
Today a Hamas official lashed out at the Hazan, citing how the Israeli officials berated an elderly Palestinian woman in the vehicle.
“Have the courage to deal with this issue in the right place and resolve the issue courageously instead of pretending to be strong against women,” said Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeidah in a statement. “You put your soldiers into a battle in Gaza and left them to the unknown. Instead of confronting the truth and behaving with honor and manhood, you’ve chosen the path of cowardice to give up your responsibilities and run away from paying the price,” he continued.
Spokesperson for the PLO, Xavier Abu Eid, called Hazan “shameful” on social media this afternoon and criticized him for “threatening defenseless relatives of Palestinian prisoners.”
Hasbarists go from defending the detention Palestinian children in the middle of the night #AhedTamimi, to “understanding” the coward/shameful Oren Hazan threatening defenseless relatives of Palestinian prisoners.
Yes, the occupation is well normalized among Israelis.
— Xavier Abu Eid (@xabueid) December 26, 2017
A spokesperson for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), the body tasked with coordinating prisoner family visits for relatives from the occupied Palestinian territory, condemned Hazan’s actions.
“For us it is a very serious incident, we are very concerned about it,” ICRC spokesperson Alyona Synenko told Mondoweiss. “As a humanitarian organization we coordinate the transfer of Palestinians to be able to visit detained Palestinians. There were children and the elderly on the bus, the way that they were insulted and aggressed is something that is very worrisome,” she continued.
The ICRC has facilitated family visitation for Palestinian detainees since 1968, with 7,479 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons receiving almost 40,000 family visit in 2017.
Hazan is no stranger to controversial entanglements, some involving crass language that have escalated to the courts. He was indicted with assault at the start of this month for a 2014 incident where he allegedly abused and cured the mayor of Ariel, a West Bank settlement where he currently lives. Last month a complaint was filed against Hazan for telling a female colleague in the middle of a meeting that she is too ugly to be a prostitute.
Earlier this year Hazan was again in hot water after he rushed President Donald Trump on the tarmac during his visit to Israel, snapping a selfie moments after Israeli Prime Minister shoved him in the opposite direction. He was also suspended from the Knesset twice in 2016, in part for ethics violations.
Before Hazan became an Israeli politician he worked as a manager of a casino in Bulgaria where he moonlighted as a pimp and used crystal meth. His checkered past was reported in an expose by Israel’s Channel 2, an outlet Hazan attempted to sue for libel. In 2016 Hazan lost the case after it was “proven beyond a shadow of a doubt” that Hazan both hired prostitutes for casino patrons and partook in hard drugs, said the ruling for the case, as reported by Haaretz.
This post has been updated at 5 p.m. to correct an error regarding Oren Hazan’s place of birth. Hazan was born in Israel in 1981 and raised in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. He resided in Bulgaria as an adult.