Ethics C'tee suspends Tibi from being deputy speaker

Ruling comes following complaint about Tibi's tearing up and pouring water on a copy of the Prawer Bill.

Ahmed Tibi pouring water on Prawer Bill 370 (photo credit: Courtesy of Knesset Channel)
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 replace.
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 stage.
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.
The Ethics 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.