Lawmakers: Arab MK Abusing Position to Criticize Israel's Policies

Letter, signed by 29 right-wing MKs, accuses Ahmed Tibi of using position as head of panel on assimilation of Israeli Arabs into public service to advance his 'narrow' agenda.

Israeli lawmakers asked Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Monday to end the work disperse a Knesset panel on the assimilation of Israeli Arab workers in public service, saying panel head Ahmed Tibi was using his role to advance a political agenda and criticize the government.

Tibi, the chairman of the United Arab List-Ta’al party, has been heading the panel since its formation during the previous Knesset in February 2008. It was authorized to continue its work into the current Knesset, so to enable the committee to form a report on the matter.

tibi - Emil Salman - October 11 2010
Emil Salman

According to a letter and sent Rivlin on Monday, and which included the signatures of 29 right-wing MKs, Tibi turned the panel "to an endless source of support for his narrow political needs and as a platform of incitement and belligerence toward Israel's policies."

"An inspection we have undertaken has revealed that no other parliamentary investigative panel drew out its operation beyond one Knesset term. The fact that he has not yet culminated indicates his failure, and inability to meet schedule," the letter added.

The missive's signatories, led by the letter's initiator, Yisrael Beiteinu's Robert Ilatov, then asked Rivlin to from Tibi to publish a report and dissolve the panel.

In response to the moves, Tibi said on Monday that the panel's work was severed during the Knesset's previous term because an earlier election was called, which was the reason he said the committee was given license to go on.

According to the United Arab List-Ta’al MK, several ministers including Energy and Water Resources Minister Uzi Landau and Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, both of Yisrael Beiteinu, have excommunicated themselves from the committee's work. Despite that, however, Tibi added that the panel was expected to complete its work until the end of the year.

He added that the panel was "one of the most serious and professional in the Knesset," adding that "the right always blames us, unjustifiably, that Arab MKs only refer to diplomatic issues. Here was have a panel on a civilian issue – Arab employment – and then 29 right-wingers rush to cancel the panel instead of canceling the exclusion and discrimination enacted against Arabs in the public service."