MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) spoke before the Knesset plenum Monday evening, in response to radical Arab MK Ahmed Tibi's denouncement of the Itamar massacre. Ben-Ari also addressed Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud), who had ordered him removed from the plenum when he interrupted Tibi's speech.
Ben-Ari reminded Rivlin that Tibi and other Arab MKs had recently called Arab terrorists "prisoners of conscience."
He quoted Tibi and MK Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash) who took part in a convention for Palestinian Authority terrorists held in Israeli prisons, where they demanded that the prisoners' cause be placed upon the world's agenda. Referring to IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held incommunicado by Hamas in Gaza, they said: "It is unfair that one prisoner who fell captive during his military service should be the most famous one in history only because he is Israeli, while Palestinian prisoners rot in jail without anyone hearing about them."
Ben-Ari noted that Tibi had also threatened that the Arabs would "put pressure on Gilad Shalit"
in response to initiatives to worsen prison conditions for Arab terrorists in Israel.
"Let's face it. There are representatives of the enemy in the Knesset," Ben-Ari said. "We must not accept the sanctimoniousness and the hypocrisy."
At the start of the present Knesset term, Speaker Rivlin decided to enlarge the number of Knesset deputy speakers in order to enable MK Tibi to be one of them. Opponents of Rivlin from the political Right accuse him of kowtowing to Israel's Arab citizens because of his ambition to be elected President by the Knesset.