Ahmed Tibi pouring water on Prawer Bill 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Knesset Channel)
MK Ahmed Tibi (UALTa’al) will not be permitted to serve in his capacity as
deputy speaker until the Knesset’s summer session ends, the Knesset Ethics
Committee decided on Tuesday.
The committee’s ruling followed a complaint
by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein about Tibi’s behavior when he tore up and
poured water on a copy of the Prawer Bill, which regulates Beduin land claims in
the Negev, during a speech in the plenum.
“The committee rejects MK
Tibi’s explanation and believes that this was an unusually extreme act that goes
beyond legitimate behavior in the Knesset and required the Knesset to spend
money to ensure that electronic equipment on the podium was not damaged by the
water,” the decision reads.
A speaker and amplifier on the stage were
damaged by the water Tibi spilled, and cost the Knesset NIS 31,111 to
Edelstein already suspended Tibi from his position as deputy
speaker immediately after the incident, and the Ethics Committee upheld his
punishment until August 4. Because the Knesset will be in recess, Tibi will not
return to his role until October 13.
The committee also discussed MKs
Muhammad Barakei (Hadash), Afo Agbaria (Hadash), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Ibrahim
Sarsour (UAL-Ta’al), Haneen Zoabi (Balad), Taleb Abu- Arar (UAL-Ta’al), Masud
Gnaim (UAL-Ta’al), and Basel Ghattas (Balad), who, like Tibi, tore up copies of
the bill in late June.
In addition, the committee dealt with MK Moshe
Gafni (UTJ) who ripped a copy of the coalition agreement while on
The Arab MKs said their actions were justified “as a way of
expressing the severity of the bill, its extremeness and its unreasonableness”
and fall under freedom of speech that MKs are granted.
Committee rejected the complaints about tearing bills, saying that the free
speech of MKs is protected. Nonetheless, the committee warned against repeating
such “inappropriate” behavior in the future, and added that it will not hesitate
to punish MKs in the future.