Ahmad Tibi


Date of birth = birth date and age|1958|12|19
Year of Aliyah =
Date of death =
Knesset(s) = 15th, 16th, 17th (current)
Party = Ta'al
Former parties = Balad
Gov't roles =

Dr. Ahmad Tibi ( _ar. أحمد الطيبي, _he. אחמד טיבי, sometimes spelt Ahmed Tibi, born 19 December 1958) is an Israeli politician and leader of the Arab nationalist party in Israel, Ta'al (the Arab Movement for Renewal). He currently serves as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He was elected on a joint ticket with the United Arab List to serve in Israel's parliament, the Knesset. He describes himself as Arab-Palestinian in nationality, but has called Israel his "homeland" and vowed to stay in Israel regardless of the fate of the Palestinian territories.

Tibi is from Taibeh, in the Center District of Israel. He is a trained physician (specializing in gynecology) and graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Early controversy

Tibi worked as a resident at Hadassah Hospital, noted for its warm Jewish-Arab relations. Those relations were challenged when he swung his briefcase into a security guard's head (eventually requiring stitches), and stalked away while the guard bled on the floor. He was dismissed a few hours later, but raised a political brouhaha over his dismissal, attempting to get reinstated. He argued that the dismissal was related to the fact that he was Arab, and asserting the guard should have had shown more respect for a doctor. The hospital maintained that Tibi had refused to allow his briefcase to be searched, and the guard was merely doing his job.Fact|date=January 2008

Political career

Early career

Tibi served as a political advisor to the late Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for several years, even representing the Palestinians at the 1998 Wye River negotiations. Tibi resigned from the post in 1999, upon deciding to run for the Knesset. Tibi has 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 as a member of Azmi Bishara's Balad party, but broke away and formed his own party Ta'al during the Knesset session.

Travel restrictions conflict

In 2002 right-wing 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 [ [http://www.arabhra.org/publications/wrap/2002/wrap79.htm Movement Restrictions on MK Dr. Al-Tibi] Arab Association for Human Rights, 2 June 2002] and appealed to the Supreme Court of Israel, which deferred a decision on the case [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=226502&contrassID=1&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=0 Court delays ruling on Tibi petition over travel limitations] Haaretz, 3 November 2002] .

2003 elections

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 holding Knesset office; the official motion to disqualify Tibi's candidacy was filed by Likud MK Michael Eitan and passed the Israeli Central Elections Committee by one vote. Eitan argued that Tibi has supported Palestinian terror throughout the intifada and served as an adviser to [PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat. He additionally asserted that since being elected to the Knesset, Tibi exploited his immunity to promote Palestinian and Arafat's interests. He further maintained that throughout his Knesset career, Tibi was involved in anti-Israeli activities, including the expression of solidarity with Israel's enemies, incitement and sedition. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=242626&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0 Eitan to propose nixing Tibi's Knesset bid] Haaretz, 2002]

However, the Supreme Court of Israel rejected the Committee's arguments and overturned the ban unanimously, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2641227.stm Poll ban on Arab Israelis lifted] BBC News, 9 January 2003] and Tibi was elected as part of a joint list of Ta'al and Hadash.

2006 elections

Before the 2006 elections, Tibi took his Ta'al party out of the Hadash coalition and joined the United Arab List. He is currently a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.


External links

* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/QA.jhtml?qaNo=110 Q&A with Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi] , September 2, 2003, Haaretz News
* [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1208422651637&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull A double identity] , April 21, 2008, The Jerusalem Post

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