Erdogan Orders Release of Detained Israeli Arabs After Meeting Ahmad Tibi, Other MKs

Israeli Arab lawmakers travel to Istanbul to discuss arrest of three Israeli Arabs who came to Turkey for a kidney transplant

MK Masud Ganaim shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul, Turkey, February 2, 2019.
Ta'al Spokesperson

A delegation of Knesset members and representatives from the United Arab List and Ta'al met Saturday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

The delegation included lawmakers Ahmad Tibi, Masud Ganaim, Talab Abu Arar and former Knesset member Osama Saadi. It was joined by the head of the local council of Daburiyya, Zuhair Yousif, and Sheikh Kamal Rayan, who is the head of the Al-Aqsa Society for Protection and Maintenance of Islamic Waqf.

The meeting dealt with the arrests and detention of three Israeli Arabs who arrived in Turkey for a kidney transplant. According to Turkish law, it is illegal to receive a kidney from a donor who is not immediate family.

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Following the meeting, Erdogan agreed to release one of the three who was arrested and to drop the charges against the other two who were detained.

The United Arab List published a statement explaining that this meeting was made possible following a meeting between Abu Arar and one of Erdogan's advisers last week.

Following the meeting in Turkey, neither party indicated whether other topics regarding domestic policy, Israel's upcoming election or the political map were raised. A source in the Islamic movement said the very existence of such a meeting was significant, particularly for the humanitarian issues discussed.

Before the meeting, the source was asked whether Erdogan will exert pressure on issues such as the joining of the United Arab List and Ta'al or the future of The Joint List. The source said that the subject will not be raised, but that the meeting will include a summary of the state of the nation and the political situation in Israel.