Knesset adviser: Tibi’s ‘Al-Quds’ bill undermines state

Knesset Legal adviser says bill by Arab MK opposes Israel as Jewish State.

January 15, 2012 13:23
2 minute read.
Ahmed Tibi

Ahmed Tibi_311. (photo credit: Reuters/Mahfouz Abu Turk)


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The Knesset presidency is likely to disqualify a bill submitted by MK Ahmed Tibi that, according to Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, opposes Israel as a Jewish state.

The measure, put forward by the United Arab List- Ta’al MK and titled “Al- Quds, the capital of Palestine,” is meant to “emphasize the importance of Al- Quds [Jerusalem in Arabic] in the lives of Palestinians and the Islamic Nation,” according to its explanatory section.

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Tibi wrote that he seeks to anchor Jerusalem as the “beating heart of Palestine” religiously, culturally, historically and diplomatically, through legislation.

The Knesset presidency is made up of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and his deputies. Every Monday, the presidency reviews bills that may be brought to a vote that week. It may reject bills that are racist or reject Israel as a Jewish and\or democratic state; however, it rarely does so, unless it is instructed to by the Knesset legal adviser.

Yinon wrote to the presidency on Sunday that the bill declaring Jerusalem as the Palestinians’ capital clearly undermines Israel’s existence as the state of the Jewish people, and may be disqualified by the Knesset Presidency.

According to Yinon, the bill’s use of the term “Al- Quds” instead of Jerusalem is problematic, because “Jerusalem is not just the name of a city or the name of our capital, but a clear Jewish symbol for generations.”

The Knesset legal adviser quoted first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, who said that “the heart of the people of Israel since becoming a united nation under the scepter of King David 3,000 years ago was in Jerusalem, the Holy City,” as proof that Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “not just an administrative or geographic matter.”

A law declaring Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital undermines this principle, he said.

Another bill submitted by Tibi would require the Education Ministry to disqualify any textbook that uses negative terms to describe individual or groups of Arabs who “fought for their right to defend their homeland.”

According to Tibi, this legislation would stop negative descriptions of “Palestinian fighters,” such as “gangs,” and bring back those fighters’ “national pride.”

Yinon wrote that the Knesset Presidency does not have a reason to disqualify the legislation, as it does not reject Israel as a Jewish state.

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