Ahmad Tibi

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This article is about the Israeli politician. For the Canadian geneticist, see Ahmad Teebi.
Ahmad Tibi
Ahmad Tibi.jpg
Date of birth (1958-12-19) 19 December 1958 (age 55)
Place of birth Tayibe, Israel
Knessets 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Party represented in Knesset
1999 Balad
1999– Ta'al

Ahmad Tibi (Arabic: أحمد الطيبي‎, Hebrew: אחמד טיבי, sometimes spelled Ahmed Tibi; born 19 December 1958) is an Arab-Israeli politician and leader of the Arab Movement for Change (Ta'al), an Arab party in Israel. He serves as a member of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) since 1999, and currently serves as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.[1] Tibi was acknowledged as a figure in the Israeli-Palestinian arena after serving as a political advisor to the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat (1993-1999). He describes himself as Arab-Palestinian in nationality, and Israeli in citizenship.

Tibi is also a trained physician and graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a gynecologist.

Biography[edit]

Tibi was born in Tayibe in 1958. His father was born in Jaffa.

Tibi studied medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and graduated with honors in 1983. He began an internship as a physician at Hadassah Hospital in 1984, but never finished, and met PLO leader Yasser Arafat in Tunis that same year.

Tibi served as a political advisor to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat from 1993 till 1999, representing the Palestinians at the 1998 Wye River negotiations. He resigned from the post in 1999, upon deciding to run for the Knesset. Tibi described his relationship with Arafat as "close" and "extremely interesting and important to [him]".

He was first elected to the Knesset in the 1999 elections after establishing Ta'al and running jointly with Azmi Bishara's Balad party, but broke away during the same Knesset session.

In 2002 MK Michael Kleiner initiated actions in the Knesset to restrict movements by Tibi inside the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Kleiner claimed that Tibi was assisting the Palestinians in their war against Israel. Tibi protested the Knesset's decision as unconstitutional and illegal under Israeli law,[2] and appealed to the Supreme Court of Israel, which deferred a decision on the case.[3]

Ahead of Israel's 2003 elections, several right-wing politicians, including the heads of the National Union and National Religious Party, sought to have Tibi banned from participating in the elections; the official motion to disqualify Tibi's candidacy was filed by Likud MK Michael Eitan. Eitan argued that Tibi has supported Palestinian terror throughout the Intifadas and served as an adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He additionally asserted that since being elected to the Knesset, Tibi exploited his immunity to promote the Palestinian interests. Eitan's proposal passed in the Israeli Central Elections Committee by one vote.[4] However, the Supreme Court of Israel rejected the Committee's arguments and overturned the ban unanimously,[5] and Tibi was elected as part of a joint list of Ta'al and Hadash. Before the 2006 elections, Tibi took his Ta'al party out of the Hadash coalition and joined the United Arab List (UAL). After retaining his seat, he became a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He was re-elected on the joint UAL–Ta'al list in the 2009 and 2013 elections.

Tibi is acknowledged, inside and outside Israel, as a salient parliamentarian and speaker of the Palestinians specially those living inside Israel; he was the first Arab member of Knesset to succeed in legislating laws that he initiated himself and that were resisted under his name; the most important of these, perhaps, was the one that passed in August 2012, regularizing compensation given by airlines to their customers for delayed or cancelled flights.[6] In 2008, he initiated the establishment of the Parliamentary inquiry committee for the employment of Arabs in the public sector, and served as its chairman until 2012. He was elected several times in media surveys targeting the Arab-Palestinian population in Israel as the most popular Arab member of Knesset, as well as the best speaker in the Knesset according to the parliamentary reporters.

Political positions[edit]

Tibi is an Anti-Zionist. He supports an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and a two-state solution, with a Palestinian state established alongside Israel. He also opposes Israel's character as a Jewish state, claiming that it's self-definition as Jewish to be racist, and favors Israel becoming a "state of all its citizens". Accordingly, he supports removing icons that represent the special status of the Jewish majority, including the Law of Return, the flag, and the national anthem. He opposes the recruitment of Israeli-Arabs into the IDF. Tibi also supports the Palestinian right of return, calling it a prerequisite for reconciliation, but has stated that he believes only a small percentage of Palestinian refugees would actually choose to move to Israel.[7]

Controversies[edit]

Tibi continues to be considered controversial in the Israeli politics mainly due to his wide relations with Palestinian and Arab parties and his speeches in the Knesset. However, Tibi is also known for having pronounced a moving speech to commemorate Holocaust Day in 2010 at the Israeli Knesset. Yair Lapid reported on Israel's Channel 2 : "Knesset elders claim that it might have been the best speech ever given in the Israeli Parliament".[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ahmad Tibi". Knesset. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Movement Restrictions on MK Dr. Al-Tibi". Arab Association for Human Rights. 2 June 2002. Archived from the original on 15 December 2004. 
  3. ^ Yair Ettinger; Moshe Reinfeld; Daniel Sobleman (3 November 2002). "Court delays ruling on Tibi petition over travel limitations". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Gideon Alon; Yair Ettinger (19 December 2002). "Eitan to propose nixing Tibi's Knesset bid". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Poll ban on Arab Israelis lifted". BBC News. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Davidovich-Weissberg, Gabriela (13 November 2012). "המהפכות הצרכניות שעברו בכנסת הנוכחית ואלו שמחכות לאחר הבחירות" [Consumer Right Revolutions Passed in the Current Knesset and Those Waiting in the Next]. TheMarker (in Hebrew). Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "מדינת כל לאומיה" [State of all peoples]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). 10 February 2005. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Ahmed Tibi interview with Yair Lapid on YouTube

External links[edit]