Israel is the only state upholding human rights, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he was castigating Arab protesters, who have been demonstrating in support of Palestine.

Protesters were seen waving flags of Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Fatah movement in the town, located near the city of Nazareth, just as when Netanyahu was set to arrive. They demanded Netanyahu to cancel his visit to the region.

The prime minister told the protesters that they should be ashamed of themselves for criticising his administration but not against the slaughter taking place in countries such as Syria, Libya and Iraq.

He was speaking at the northern town of Ein Mahil on Thursday (28 December), after he received a prize for his contributions to the local community. Hundreds of Arab Israeli protesters demonstrated against Netanyahu's visit demanding they have been suffering from discriminatory policies.

Netanyahu was at the Ein Mahil town to mark the signing of a development deal between the Arab local council and the government. As part of the agreement, 600 housing units will be built in the sector.

"I saw a protest at the entrance here. A protest. The [protesters] were holding up signs [with the symbol] of Fatah, of the PLO, and [protesting] against my visit. What for? What are they protesting against, I ask you," he hit back at the anti-government campaigners," he said.

He went on: "Against the fact that millions who have been killed or have been forced to flee from their homes in Syria, Iraq, and Libya? Who are you protesting against? Against the only state that protects human rights and that established a field hospital to help the wounded? Against Israel? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

"We believe in progress. We believe in coexistence. And we're working towards those [goals], and we'll keep working together with you. Here, in Ein Mahil, and everywhere else, we'll work towards progress together," added the Israeli prime minister.

However, the committee representing the residents of Ein Mahil, said, "The village of Ein Mahil is a small Arab community of some 15,000 people. It is an integral and inseparable part of the Palestinian people who are waging a struggle against the Israeli occupation and against the racist decisions of the government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, the same prime minister who in his tenure enacted racist laws that discriminate against the Arab minority living within the State of Israel."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigates Arab protesters for their demonstrations against his Ein Mahil visit - File photo Gali Tibbon/AFP