tibi - Emil Salman - October 11 2010
Deputy Knesset Speaker Ahmed Tibi spars with National Union MK Michael Ben Ari Photo by Emil Salman
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The Knesset held a stormy special session yesterday on the participation of Arab MKs in a ceremony in Cairo to mark the finalization of the Hamas-Fatah accord.

MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash ), who took part in the Cairo event, rose to the dais and proclaimed: "I am standing here to respond to the inflammatory incitement, and to say that speaking as a person, an Arab, a Palestinian, as a citizen of the state of Israel and a member of the Knesset, I am proud of the fact that I took part in the unity event in Egypt. "The cries of outrage in Israel about the unity agreement are akin to the cry of the bully who claims to have been cheated when his winning card was taken away. [Israel has been saying] who is there to engage talks with, since the Palestinians are divided, and now that this card has been taken, it's like their world has collapsed," said Barakeh.

MK Fania Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu ) took advantage of the opportunity to launch an attack on Arab Knesset members.

"I can say wholeheartedly that there are in the current Knesset parliamentarians who are more concerned about the independence of a Hamas state than with the independence of the state of Israel, and who care mostly about the welfare of Gaza residents. We are talking, for example, about a female Knesset member who preferred to sail on a terror ship outside of Israel's coast, in violation of international law, rather than worrying about the welfare of children in Wadi Ara."

MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad ), whose participation last spring in the Turkish flotilla continues to stir tension in the Knesset, attacked Israel's position on the Hamas-Fatah accord. "The unity of the Palestinian people apparently threatens Israel," she said. "If such unity threatens (Israel ) because it strengthens the Palestinians, then recognition of Palestinian rights will definitely threaten Israel, as will the end of the occupation, and peace will also threaten Israel."

Jab at Zuabi

Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud ) used his turn at the rostrum to take a jab at Zuabi. "I'll explain why she (Zuabi ) is angry," Shalom declared. "She wasn't invited to Cairo, so she feels nervous." Shalom also criticized PA leader Mahmoud Abbas: "We've been trying for two years to speak with the Palestinians. Then Mahmoud Abbas comes and says, 'I can't speak with you if Netanyahu does not accept the principle of two states which Olmert, Sharon and Barak adopted. Netanyahu delivered the Bar-Ilan speech. I said that nothing would come of that speech. Why? Because it was clear that what they were saying [about Netanyahu] was just an excuse, that they had chosen a unilateral course to follow until September 2011."

MK Ahmed Tibi, who participated in the Cairo ceremony, declared that "there's nothing more natural than our taking part in such a ceremony, one which represented the start of the road to Palestinian unity, and the end of one of the darkest stages in the history of the Palestinian national movement."