Tibi’s remarks makes clear — even
‘painful’ concessions won’t work
New York – This week, the Israeli Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List/Ram Ta’al) attacked the State of Israel in a fiery editorial published in the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds. Tibi wrote in the editorial that “Palestine belongs to its Arab residents, not to the Jewish occupiers.” This absolute rejection of Israel’s existence and Israel’s having any right to having statehood and any land in the Middle East within any borders mirrors his remarks seven months ago in Ramallah where he told a Palestinian audience that they should fight the “occupation” until they take over all of the land. He made the remarks in a huge rally celebrating the Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Israel National News, August 1, 2007). The Fatah Constitution labels Zionism racism (Article 7) and calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19).
Tibi’s open call to violence against the country in whose parliament he sits and rejection of Israel as a Jewish state is but one of numerous words and deeds by he and other Israeli Arab MKs that demonstrate their rejection of Israel and embrace of the Palestinian position. This was particularly evident during and after last year’s Lebanon war.
Disloyal statements by Arab MKs following the 2006 Lebanon war:
- Azmi Bishara (Balad): Praised Syria for its “struggle to liberate occupied Arab land, its resistance against occupation and its defense of the legitimacy of such resistance” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006). He has stated that “We are Syria’s ally” and supported its efforts to free “occupied Arab land” (Haaretz , September 10, 2006), condemned “Israel’s barbaric onslaughts” against Lebanon and urged Nasrallah to “continue his fight” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006). Perhaps most serious of all, he warned Syria of likely “preemptive Israeli strikes” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006), something of which he might well have knowledge as a result of his presence in the Knesset.
- Jamal Zahalka (Balad): “For us Syria is no enemy … [we support] solidarity with Syria, especially after Israel’s savage aggression against Lebanon” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006). He has also said that “We don’t see Syria as an enemy state” (Haaretz, September 10, 2006). Lastly, Wasal Taha recently revealed he had recommended that organizations hostile to Israel “concentrate their efforts on attacking and abducting Israeli soldiers” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006).
- Wasal Taha (Balad): recently revealed he had recommended that organizations hostile to Israel “concentrate their efforts on attacking and abducting Israeli soldiers” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006).
Additionally, Israeli Arab MKs, including Tibi, Bishara, Zahalka and Taha, have undertaken trips to countries that are in a state of war with Israel, like Syria, and declared their solidarity with Israel’s enemies. This has even occurred since a law was enacted in 2001 prohibiting such visit to enemy states and amendments to it to tighten its operation. However, no attempt has even been made to enforce the law since that date.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is simply intolerable that these MKs sit in the Knesset while recommending various acts of aggression to Israel’s enemies and consorting with terrorists and the leaders of Arabs regimes that harbor them. Imagine if a US congressman paid an unauthorized visit to North Korea, declared himself to be on North Korea’s side and recommended action North Korea should take to inflict harm on U.S. military personnel or other actions hostile to the United States. Such a congressman would be charged with treason or other serious crimes. The ZOA has long supported the proposal of Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev who proposed last year the enactment of a law that would ban MKs from the Knesset who support or identify with a terror organization.
“The Jerusalem Post has rightly editorialized, ‘A country’s legal code is the glue which keeps its social fabric from fraying and tearing. When that code is contravened, the country’s resolve to uphold its sovereignty is tested. If it fails to implement and enforce its laws, it loses authority. Laws cannot apply only to one segment of the population. Such a situation broadcasts not broadmindedness and magnanimity but vacillation and weakness. It invites further breaches’ ( Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006).
“It is necessary to put an end to the dangerous situation that Israel Arab MKs sit in the Knesset at taxpayer expense while rallying behind genocidal terrorist groups that murder Israeli citizens and work to end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. For this reason, the 2001 law is no longer enough, even if it is rigorously enforced. Rigorous enforcement of this law will not prevent Azmi Bishara from praising Syria’s support for Hizballah’s aggression against Israel; or Jamal Zahalka deciding for himself that Syria is not an enemy; or Wasal Taha advising Palestinians to kidnap Israeli soldiers. And it will not stop Ahmed Tibi from calling upon Palestinians to fight Israel or declaring that the Jewish people have no right to their sovereign state. In this context, Zevulun Orlev’s proposal for a law banning something which would be illegal in most democracies — identifying with foreign powers at war with one’s country — should be seriously discussed and drafted. Israel is engaged in a long-term battle for its existence and simply cannot tolerate Israeli Arab MKs willing and able support enemy regimes and terrorist groups, whether they pay them visits or not.”