The Ethics Committee ruled on Tuesday that Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) will not be able to serve in his capacity as deputy Knesset speaker until the end of the Knesset's summer session (August 4).
The committee decided to suspend Tibi from his role as deputy Knesset speaker after he caused damage to electronic equipment when he poured water on a copy of the Prawer Bill during a speech in the plenum in June.
Other Arab lawmakers who tore up copies of the bill, which regulates Bedouin land claims in the Negev, were not punished.
Tibi pours water on copy of Prawer Bill (courtesy of Knesset Channel)
"The committee rejects MK Tibi's explanation and believes that this was an unusually extreme act that goes beyond legitimate behavior in the Knesset and required the Knesset to spend money to ensure that electronic equipment on the podium was not damaged by the water," the decision read.
The office of the Knesset's director general informed the committee that the water poured by Tibi caused damage to a speaker and amplifier and that the cost of replacing the equipment is NIS 21,000 (about $5,900).
United Arab List-Ta'al called the committee's decision a "manipulation."
The Arab MKs who tore up copies of the bill, among them Muhammad Barakei (Hadash), Afo Agbaria (Hadash), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL-Ta'al) and Hanin Zoabi (Balad), said their actions were justified "as a way of expressing the severity of the bill, its extremeness and its unreasonableness" and fall under freedom of speech that MKs are granted.
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