The Knesset's Ethics Committee decided on Monday to issue a harsh reprimand to MK Ahmad Tibi
(United Arab List-Ta'al) following complaints that he had hailed Palestinian shahids – or martyrs – during a recent speech in Ramallah.
"His remarks can be construed as being sympathetic towards acts of terror and violence," the committee said.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, as well as a number of citizens, lodged complaints with the Knesset over the speech Tibi delivered on "Palestinian Shahids Day."
MK Tibi's speech
According to the Ethics Committee, Tibi said, "In the history of the peoples and their battles, the Palestinian shahid is the height of glory. The shahid is a symbol of the homeland. I want to offer my blessings to the thousands of martyrs in the homeland and in exile, and congratulations to our and your shahids inside the Green Line, those whom the occupier wants to refer to as terrorists while we say that there is nothing higher than those who die for the homeland. That occupier is the real terrorist and in Israel he is considered a hero or a cabinet minister.”
Tibi told the committee that the video of his speech was taped over a year ago, adding that it was edited in such a way that distorted the true meaning behind his remarks.
According to Tibi, the "shahids" he mentioned in the speech did not kill anyone. The committee did not accept the Arab
lawmaker's explanation, saying that the "meaning that can be attributed to his remarks is that of sympathy and towards acts of terror and violence against the State of Israel,
its soldiers and citizens."
In November 2010 the committee reprimanded Tibi for traveling to Libya and meeting with then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.