The petition to recall Yosef Shagal from Belarus has appeared on the web.
It has been posted at Change.org platform. As charter97.org website have found out, the authors of the document addressed the prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.
“On February 8 this year Mr Shagal, in his interview to a television channel RTVi called the citizens of Belarus who oppose the Lukashenka’s regime criminals. To the question regarding the position of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, regarding the political prisoners in the Republic of Belarus, he responded: “How would you think we would treat a Palestinian who throws a rock at the Israeli Knesset? Who would he be – a criminal or a political prisoner? They are all serving time on criminal, not political charges. All of them. This is it. For throwing rocks, attacking the Parliament.” To the request for clarification, who those people are from the Israeli standpoint, Shagal replied: “From our standpoint they are criminals, since in Belarus there is a law against insulting authorities, hooliganism, rock throwing, etc.”
Shagal’s statements regarding Poland made in the same interview caused the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce them and apologize, since that caused an outrage in a friendly country. However, what he stated in regards to those who are fighting the tyrannical regime of Belarus does not seem to be enough of a concern,” the authors of the statement note.
They stress that a number of politicians and public activists still stay behind the bars in Belarusian prisons, including the former candidate for presidency in 2010 Mikola Statkevich.
“Therefore, we the citizens of Israel, Belarus, and other countries consider the current situation as inacceptable and are petitioning to the Prime Minister to task the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce officially the statements made by ambassador Shagal in his interview to RTVi, to call him back from the Republic of Belarus, and consider appointing a new ambassador who would possess the personal and professional qualities making his capable of representing the State of Israel,” the address reads.
We remind that a few months ago the Israeli government received a similar appeal from Belarusians who had undergone prisons and tortures on political reasons, as well as families of prisoners of conscience. In this way they reacted to the scandalous statement by Yosef Shagal, Israeli Ambassador to Belarus, who called Belarusian political prisoners “criminals”.