Oct 12, 2008 19:19 | Updated Oct 12, 2008 19:34 
Olmert: Israeli Arabs have suffered from discrimination

Oct. 12, 2008 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST 
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday afternoon met with Shawki Hatib, chairman 
of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and with some of the Arab MKs, after 
leaders of the Arab sector presented a petition calling on the prime minister 
to reexamine the decision of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz regarding the 
October 2000 riots. 

Mazuz decided not to put to trial any of the officials involved in the riots, 
in which 13 Arab citizens were killed. 

Olmert said that he couldn't and did not intend to change the decision reached 
by Mazuz. 

However, the prime minister said there was no doubt that there has been 
discrimination against the Arab population in Israel. 

"I have decided that I must change this situation. The October 2000 events 
became a significant milestone in the relations between Arabs and Jews in the 
state of Israel. You came here today to ask me to look into the decisions of 
the Attorney-General. I will not do that - I do not have the authority to do 
it, but I do have the right to share your pain and sorrow, a right that I will 
not give up," he said. 

Olmert said he thought the Israeli people share the pain of the Arab families 
over losing their loved ones during the October riots. 

"The State of Israel is a Jewish state, but it is also democratic. This means 
that every citizen, even if he is not Jewish, needs to feel that he belongs 
here," the prime minister said at the meeting.

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