(photo credit: )
The drama over the six Arab MKs who visited Libya earlier this week refused to subside on Wednesday, when House Committee Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) agreed to hold a hearing on the subject, and after MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) was forcibly removed from the speaker’s podium later in the afternoon.
After consultation with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Levin announced that he would honor the request by MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) for the House Committee to hold a vote on whether or not to strip the six MKs of their parliamentary immunity.
In a response to a letter from Levin, Rivlin told him that according to the law, he was required to bring Ben-Ari’s request before the powerful committee. Levin, said Rivlin, was not entitled to decide whether or not the request was appropriate for debate. Rivlin did, however, say that Ben-Ari’s use of the word “traitors” to describe MKs who had yet to be investigated, tried or convicted of treason, was inappropriate.
MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) said that she and the other five MKs who were guests of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi earlier this week would boycott the House Committee hearing.
Shortly after Levin’s announcement, tension between Arab MKs and fellow
parliamentarians, already high, tightened further when Tibi, known for
his fiery rhetoric, was forcibly removed from the plenum speaker’s
Tibi grabbed onto the speaker’s podium in protest after MK Carmel Shama
(Likud) told Knesset guards to remove the MK, who was describing his
recent visit to Libya. Tibi told the MKs that he and the other five
Arab MKs who visited Libya had not said anything different from what
they usually say in Knesset forums.
Shama told Tibi that his time had expired, but Tibi argued that “my
time is up when God decides,” and ignored the deputy speaker’s request
to step down. Knesset ushers ultimately approached the podium to try to
remove the veteran MK, who had accused Shama of “utilizing terror” to