Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi
Tibi: No equality
Photo: Gil Yohanan
A large delegation of Israeli-Arabs left Saturday morning from Amman on a historic visit to Libya. The party, which includes Arab statesmen and leaders, took off in the private plane of Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi, with whom they will meet Sunday.
The party members plan to stress on their two-day visit that Israeli-Arabs are "part of the Arab people", and ask Ghaddafi to open the gates to the Arab world before them.
Among the delegation members are MKs Ahmed Tibi, Mohammad Barakeh, Jamal Zahalka, Afu Aghbaria, Talab El-Sana, and Hanin Zuabi, as well as Chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Mohammad Zidan.
The visit follows a year of talks with Libya's ambassador to Jordan, Mohammad Hassan Al Barghathi. The MKs explained to the ambassador that they wanted to have open and close ties with the entire Arab world, and that a meeting with Ghaddafi was a good first step.
"I spoke with him and told him that we are part of the Arab world and that it is part of our culture," Tibi said. "This will be a first and historic visit, in which people from all sides of the political spectrum of Arab leadership will take part."
Tibi said he planned to "stress to Ghaddafi the singularity of an Arab minority as part of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel, which fights for non-existent equality".
Many in Israel have called for the delegation members' arrests immediately upon their return to Israel. "These calls want to constrain Arab citizens and keep us within the expanse of racism prevalent in Israel. We are determined to break through to a larger expanse while performing our civil struggle," Tibi responded.
According to Israel's law travel to an enemy country without the proper approval of the Interior Ministry is prohibited, and those who violate this law are subject to trial.