Arab MKs attend Habash funeral

Tibi: Former PFLP head "a symbol of struggle;" Lieberman: They represent terrorists in the Knesset.

Habash 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Habash 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Right-wing MKs blasted Israeli Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List), Jamal Zahalka and Wassal Taha (Balad) on Monday for attending the previous day's funeral of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader George Habash in Amman. MK Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beiteinu) said all Arab MKs were "representatives of terrorist organizations" in the Knesset. MK Eli Gabai (NU/NRP) said he had written to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, asking him to prevent the MKs from traveling to the funeral. In the letter, Gabai said that the very presence of the MKs at the ceremony could potentially lead them to commit the criminal offenses of assisting the enemy and contacting enemy agents. The Justice Ministry said it had yet to receive the letter. Tibi, speaking from the funeral, said Habash was a "leader who turned symbol." Zahalka said he was "one of the most important Palestinian leaders of the 20th century," but emphasized that "the bloodshed should be stopped. Our party always opposed attacks on civilians." Habash, who died on Saturday at the age of 83, was long considered by Israel to be an arch-terrorist. A Christian refugee from Lod who left the city in the 1948 war, Habash established the PFLP in 1967. He was notorious in the West for his numerous terrorist attacks in the 1970s, including the Ben-Gurion Airport shooting in 1974 and the Entebbe hijacking in 1976. Although he was Arafat's main rival in the PLO, Habash was also known for his efforts to preserve Palestinian unity, and politicians and commentators speaking of his death in the Arab media favorably compared his policies to those causing divisions between Fatah and Hamas. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning for Habash, ordering flags be flown at half-mast. Symbolic funerals for the former PFLP chairman took place in a number of Palestinian cities.