MK Ahmed Tibi during a visit to the Temple Mount in July.
(photo credit: COURTESY MK AHMED TIBI)
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan petitioned the Knesset Ethics Committee against Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi visiting the Temple Mount during the crisis there in July, at the request of police.
Erdan’s petition, obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Monday, states that “there is no doubt that MK Tibi’s ascent to the Temple Mount...disturbed the public’s peace and endangered its security and could have incited and agitated others to commit acts of violence in response, and was done in total violation of the good of the country to which MKs are committed by virtue of their position.”
The minister pointed out that in 2015, the Knesset Ethics Committee declared visiting the Temple Mount as an ethical violation, reinforcing an order from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against lawmakers going to the holy site, and that the panel and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent reminders to the MKs.
On July 27 Erdan wrote that police cameras caught Tibi on the Temple Mount, and on the same day, he also told Channel 2 News that he visited the al-Aksa Mosque.
“It is important to emphasize that MK Tibi’s ascent to the Temple Mount did not take place in a peaceful and calm time and was not done in a private and discrete way, rather it was a demonstrative and open visit, clearly agitating in a sensitive and stormy time, after the [Temple] Mount plaza was closed because of the horrible terrorist attack that took place on it, in which police officers Hail Stawi and Kamil Shanan were murdered and riots broke out afterwards,” Erdan stated.
Army Radio reported that police found Tibi to be an agitating factor.
However, since Tibi is a serving Knesset member, he has parliamentary immunity, and he did not commit a crime, so police could not take action against him, and asked Erdan to do what he can. The minister decided to submit a complaint to the Ethics Committee.
Erdan declined to comment on the complaint, possibly because the Ethics Committee can disregard petitions it views as being used for publicity.
Tibi called the police’s behavior outrageous and Erdan’s petition incitement.
“To ask a minister to submit a complaint about an MK who has immunity – about something that the police says is not a crime – is a blatant intervention in an MK’s work,” he stated. “The police incited the minister to submit a complaint against me… This is the same police that closes files and doesn’t recommend indictments against people who shoot Arab civilians and murders them. This is a double standard and misconduct.”
As for his visit to the Temple Mount, Tibi said when it comes to Muslim MKs, the ban on lawmakers at the site is “under no authority, illegal, has no place, and should not be respected, and therefore, there is no place for punishment.”
He has, however, advocated for Jewish lawmakers and “settlers” to be banned from the site.
Muslim worshipers may pray at the al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but Jews may only visit and are prohibited from praying anywhere on the holiest site in Judaism.