'Elections C'tee may debate Tibi disqualification'

Possibility of disqualifying UAL-Ta'al MK from re-election following comment praising martyrs, Central Elections Committee chairwoman says.

By
January 29, 2012 15:55
1 minute read.

 
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The Central Elections Committee is likely to discuss the possibility of disqualifying MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) from being reelected to the Knesset, due to a speech in which he said that “nothing is more praiseworthy than martyrdom,” according to Central Elections Committee Chairwoman and Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor.

Since a general election has not been set for anytime soon, the committee cannot officially examine Tibi’s behavior, Naor wrote in a letter released on Sunday, explaining she does not have the authority to disqualify sitting Knesset members.

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“However, we should not reject the possibility that the topic will arise in the Central Elections Committee’s deliberations.”

According to Basic Law: The Knesset, a candidate or party running for Knesset membership may be disqualified if it rejects Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incites racism, or supports armed combat by an enemy state or terrorist organization against the State of Israel.

Naor’s letter was a response to a request by Likud Nationalist Camp activist Yossi Fox to disqualify Tibi from upcoming elections.

Fox also wrote to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, asking that he open a criminal investigation of the MK.

Earlier this month, a video shot at a Palestinian Authority event honoring martyrs shows Tibi saying “there is no greater source of praise” than martyrdom.

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While the word martyr in Arabic means to die in the name of God, in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict it has come to be associated with suicide bombers and other terrorists who are killed while attacking Israelis.

In the video released by the Palestinian Media Watch organization, Tibi says that “in the history of nations and their conflicts, the martyr is the ultimate source of pride.”

When questioned about the video, Tibi cited “Israeli ignorance” about the concept of a martyr in Islam. According to the MK, a shaheed (martyr) is one who was “killed by the occupation” or died for a national cause.

Tibi declined to comment on Naor’s letter, saying his previous explanation of his speech stands.

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