Born to a Christian family in Eilabun (Eilaboun, an Israeli Arab village between the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth), Sweid studied Civil Engineering at the Technion, gaining a BSc and an MSc. Further studies led to him receiving a PhD in Civil Engineering and Urban Planning. After his studies he worked as an engineer and also lectured at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom from 1990 until 1993. He became a member of the National Council for Planning and Construction in 1995, leaving it in 2003, the year in which he became Director General of the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, a position he held until 2006.
Swaid began his foray into politics as head of Eilabun local council in 1993, a position he held until 2000. He was first elected to the Knesset in the 2006 elections. Since becoming an MK he has led efforts to establish a new Arab city in the north of Israel.