Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Tibi. Frequent flyer
Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Tibi visits Beirut despite ban
(Video) Arab MK arrives in Beirut after visiting Yemen, where he discusses Fatah-Hamas talks with president. Tibi claims his plane made an hour's stopover in Lebanese capital, but Right-wing activists, MKs are outraged

VIDEO - MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) landed in the Lebanese capital Beirut Wednesday night, accompanied by three Israeli-Arab journalists. The visit prompted an immediate condemnation by rightist MKs and activists.




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Israeli citizens are prohibited from traveling to Lebanon, which is defined by law as an enemy state.


In response, Tibi said: "The Right is dying to see us forced out of the Knesset by fascist laws. This was just a one-hour stopover."


The MK explained that his plane made a planned stop in Beirut as part of the flight's routine route from Yemen to Jordan. "I'll go to Lebanon when I decide to do so, and not according to the Right's shouts," he concluded.


Tibi arrived in Beirut from Yemen, where he met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Tibi was invited to Yemen as the keynote speaker at a conference on Land Day.


The Israeli MK and the Yemenite leader discussed efforts to reach reconciliation and an agreement between rivaling Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, following a treaty signed in Sana two weeks ago on renewing the talks.


Tibi lauded the president for his efforts on the issue, and said he would ask other Arab leaders to support the move as well.


In the meeting, President Saleh stressed the importance of Palestinian unity and added that his country "supported the (Palestinian) nation's right for an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem."


'Tibi should have stayed in Lebanon'  

Meanwhile, extreme Right-wing activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir filed a complaint with the police against MK Tibi over his visit to Beirut and demanded that Tibi be arrested upon his return to Israel.


The Knesset House Committee discussed this week an amendment to Basic Law: The Knesset that would prevent individuals who visited enemy states from being elected to parliament.


MKs Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP) and Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu) declared Thursday that they plan to speed up the legislation process on the amendment following Tibi's visit to Lebanon.


"Ahmad Tibi would do best to stay between Nasrallah's legs in Lebanon where he belongs," MK Tartman said.


Her party's chairman, MK Avigdor Lieberman, added: "I have no problem with his trip to Lebanon; I have a problem with him returning. Tibi's shining provocation proves that he is a fifth column, and I hope that some day he would join his friend Azmi Bishara."  


Tibi had already been investigated by the Israeli police in the past after visiting Lebanon. At the time, the Arab MK claimed that his investigation was a political one, and stated that as a parliament member he enjoys immunity.


In July 2005, Attorney general Menachem Mazuz ordered an investigation against Tibi following an unauthorized visit to Lebanon in May of the same year.


Efrat Weiss and Amnon Meranda contributed to the report


First published: 03.04.08, 10:18
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