Likud MKs slam Tibi over speech at Arafat’s grave

Tibi: I respect Arafat as Palestinian national symbol; Danon: Tibi's a 5th column, belongs in Ramallah parliament.

Ahmed Tibi_311 (photo credit: Reuters/Mahfouz Abu Turk)
Ahmed Tibi_311
(photo credit: Reuters/Mahfouz Abu Turk)
Likud parliamentarians slammed MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) on Tuesday after he revealed plans to give a speech at the grave of Yasser Arafat during a memorial ceremony on Wednesday marking seven years since the Palestinian leader’s death.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Arafat’s nephew, Nasser al- Qidwa, are also expected to speak at the ceremony.
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MK Yariv Levine (Likud) sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak requesting that he block Tibi from going to the grave. The site is in Area A of the West Bank, which is under full Palestinian control and closed to Israelis who have not received special permission to enter.
“MK Tibi is, once again, trying to take advantage of his status and the extra privileges he receives as an MK in order to play a central role in a ceremony honoring terror, which is meant to harm the state of Israel and its citizens,” Levine said.
“This betrayal must stop, and we will put an end to it,” he added. “Tibi’s trip to Ramallah will have a one-way ticket, with no way back.”
According to Likud MK Danny Danon, Tibi was “continuing to act traitorously” against Israel and constituted a “fifth column” in Israel’s parliament.
“Supporting the ways of Arafat is incitement to terror, which must bring about Tibi’s expulsion from the Knesset once and for all,” Danon said.
“He belongs in Ramallah’s parliament.”
Tibi said in response that he didn’t understand “the right-wing rage” about his planned speech.
“I value and respect Arafat as the leader and national symbol that turned the Palestinian problem from a matter of refugees to a nation demanding renewal and independence,” Tibi stated.
For several years before becoming a member of Knesset in 1999, Tibi was a political adviser to Arafat and represented the Palestinians at the Wye River negotiations in 1998.
Tibi came under fire in September for flying to New York on the Palestinian delegation’s plane, as the PA pursued its statehood bid at the UN. He faces complaints lodged with the Knesset Ethics Committee, as well as a bill proposed by MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) forbidding MKs “to advise a foreign entity or state.”