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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Will Knesset deputy speaker Ahmad Tibi be put in his place?

Ahmad Tibi, formerly an adviser to Yasser Arafat, is now a member of the Israeli Knesset and its deputy speaker. Yesterday, Tibi was in Doha, Qatar, at the Democracy Forum where the register of those attending says that he represents 'Palestine.'

But that's just the beginning of the story. Two years ago, Israel declined an invitation to attend the Doha Forum when at the last minute it turned out that Hamas representatives were to be present. But this time, foreign minister Tzipi Feigele Livni is in Doha and she spoke at the conference yesterday. After Livni spoke, Tibi attacked her:
In remarks following the Foreign Minister's speech, MK Tibi called Israel "an apartheid state" and criticized Livni for referring to Israeli democracy. "How can you talk about democracy when you talk about a Jewish state?" he challenged.

Foreign Minister Livni responded by reminding Tibi that he had no objections to the definition of a Palestinian Authority state as "Palestinian." Tibi himself is proof that Israel can be both Jewish and democratic, she explained. "The fact that you are a Member of Knesset in Israel who represents 20 percent of the public and can say whatever you please is proof that Israel is a democratic state," she said.
Now that you understand what you're about to see with Hebrew subtitles and Arabic voiceover (sorry, I could not find it in English), we can go to the videotape, and then I'll tell you what's happened since:

Tibi has denied that he was attending the conference as a representative of any country, but the Doha organizers are insisting that invitations were sent to countries and not to individuals. Tibi has been attacked by Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman - no surprise there - but also by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Majalli Whbee, of the Druze village of Beit Jann (yes, we have Druze ministers and deputy ministers in this 'apartheid' state):
Tibi was attacked for his stance from both right and center, and the Yisrael Beiteinu party of Avigdor Lieberman is planning to demand his ouster as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Lieberman told Army Radio, "Any self-respecting parliament in the world would not allow this to happen. Tibi uses every international forum to malign Israel's reputation and status."

When reminded that Tibi had been elected to the Knesset democratically , Lieberman responded, "So were Hamas and Hitler."

Lieberman said he has requested a special mid-recess Knesset session after Passover for the purpose of deposing Tibi as Deputy Speaker. "Tibi is a fifth-column [agent] in the full sense of the word," Lieberman said. "He belongs in the parliament in Ramallah, and not Israel."

In response, Tibi called Lieberman, who made Aliyah to Israel from the former Soviet Union, a "fascist immigrant."


Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Majalli Whbee, of the Druze village of Beit Jann, has also registered his disgust with Tibi, calling on the Knesset Ethics Committee to punish him. "Tibi must decide which state he represents," the Kadima MK said on Israel Radio. "He can't be a legislator in one country and represent another one at the same time."
This is far from the first time Tibi has created a firestorm. There is a bill pending in the Knesset to expel MK's who visit enemy states without permission. The bill is intended to put a stop to the phenomenon of Arab MK's visiting Syria and Lebanon to speak badly of Israel. The bill has been pending since November. Two weeks ago, Tibi visited Beirut, Lebanon.

Will Tibi be 'sent back to Ramallah' in Lieberman's words? I doubt it. Will he be forced to 'decide which state he represents as Whbee demands? I doubt that too. No one in this country's leadership has the courage to put Ahmad Tibi in his place. And Tibi knows it.


At 5:03 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Don't hold your breath waiting for the dhmmmi Jews to expel Arab fifth columnist traitors from the Knesset.


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