Arab Knesset Member, A Former Arafat Aide, Casts Deciding Vote To Fund Gaza Withdrawal
May 11, 2005

New York – The Israel National News reported that Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset and a former top aide to terrorist Yasser Arafat, cast the deciding vote in the Knesset Finance Committee yesterday, allotting over $25 million to fund the uprooting and evacuation of 10,000 Jews from the Jewish Beachside section of Gaza and Northern Samaria.

Tibi, who has regularly been a hostile critic of Israel, said he voted for the funding not out of sympathy for the Jews but because pro-withdrawal Housing Minister Yitchak Herzog (Labor) promised that he would build public housing in the Israeli Arab town of Taibeh in return for his vote.

Following the narrow 6 to 5 vote, Tibi said that “I killed 2 birds with one stone. I voted for evacuating settlements and for construction in Arab communities.”

MK Ayoub Kara (Likud), himself an Arab Druze Knesset member, told Knesset supporters of the Withdrawal Plan, “You are surviving only thanks to the Arabs.” This is the 4th time a decision regarding Israel’s Gaza Plan has been passed by a single Israeli Arab vote. The reason this troubles some friends of Israel is that almost every Arab Knesset member has repeated made comments hostile to Israel.

This narrow vote which pushes the Plan forward is also troubling in light of yesterday’s comments by Israel’s Southern District Commander Major-Gen’l Dan Har’el. He predicted that security dangers to Israel from Arab forces in PA-controlled Gaza will increase after the Plan is implemented. One indicator of that is the incessant weapons smuggling into Gaza and the West Bank. Har’el said the PA have stepped up their efforts to smuggle arms. He added that the Kassam rockets and mortar attacks will extend deeper into Israeli territory after the withdrawal.

In fact, the Sharon government gave 44 municipalities in proximity to the Gaza region, ‘frontline status’ entitling those towns to government benefits currently offered to Sderot as a result of ongoing enemy shelling to that city. The government has also allocated funds to reinforce roofs of public buildings in the region to enable them to withstand rocket attacks.

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein said, “It is deeply troubling that the Gaza Plan has moved forward on the basis of threats, firings, changes of governments, and narrow votes.”

“When it comes to a Policy change of this magnitude, a referendum with a substantial majority should have been required before moving ahead. And when almost every Israeli military leader predicts a terror war after this withdrawal, and when the government is preparing Israeli towns near Gaza for more and greater attacks, and when the Nazi-like Hamas is on the verge of taking over Gaza and even the Palestinian Authority is smuggling in more weapons to Gaza and Judea and Samaria, it becomes more and more incomprehensible that there is not a re-evaluation of this withdrawal plan which could ultimately lead to disaster.

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