Tibi: Dark day for democracy
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rivlin: Negates Jewish state
Photo: Noam Moskovich

MK Tibi's 'Nakba deniers' bill rejected

Knesset presidium opts not to allow Knesset to vote on bill demanding all state-funded organizations recognize Palestinian day of mourning for founding of state. 'Palestinian tragedy was leaders' fault, not Israel's,' says speaker

The Knesset presidium rejected on Monday a bill by MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) calling for the withholding of funds from organizations and authorities that deny the 'Nakba' – a Palestinian day of mourning for the establishment of the State of Israel.


The presidium debate focused on an appeal made by MKs Danny Danon (Likud) and Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu), who demanded that the bill be rejected offhand by the presidium, without reaching the Knesset for a vote.



It was the first time in seven years that the presidium, charged with accepting or rejecting urgent proposals, had made such a call. Five of its members were in favor, and three opposed.


Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin joined MK Danny Danon (Likud) in claiming that the bill negates Israel's existence.


"The bill means negating Israel's definition as a Jewish state. It sees the establishment of the State of Israel as the reason for the Palestinian tragedy. The Palestinians did, indeed, suffer a tragedy, but it was their leaders' fault and not that of the Jewish state. That is why the bill will not have a place on the Knesset agenda," Rivlin said.


MK Danon told Tibi, who is a member of the presidium, that he would do better "to propose the bill to the Palestinian parliament – maybe there it will be accepted".


Tibi explained earlier that the bill would make sure everyone recognizes "the national tragedy beheld by the children of Palestine, residents of the land".


"This bill was intended to prohibit acts that deny this tragedy and aims to recognize the pain and suffering of the other, including a national minority," the Arab MK explained.


It would do so, Tibi said, by withholding funds from organizations that "prevent the Palestinian and Arab people from feeling at home and of equal rights" by "publicly denying 'Nakba Day' as a true historical event seminal to the tragedy of the Palestinian and Arab people".


The Knesset's legal advisor, Eyal Yinon, opposed the presidium's decision, saying the rejection would not hold up in the High Court of Justice.


Tibi called it a "dark day" for democracy, freedom of speech, and the Knesset. "I placed a challenge before you and you have failed miserably. See you at the High Court," he said.



פרסום ראשון: 07.04.11, 14:48
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