The Knesset Ethics Committee decided Thursday to settle for reprimanding MK Ahmed Tibi for attending the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement signing in Cairo last month without receiving prior permission.
Tibi, a former PLO adviser, previously made a solidarity trip to Libya to meet with strongman Moamarr Qaddafi with five other Arab Israeli legislators. The trip roused furor in Israel due to Qaddafi's history of supporting terror and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Tibi's attending the Fatah-Hamas unity signing, which he himself described as a show of support, has been interpreted as giving aid and comfort to the enemy, Hamas, by zionist legislators. Such displays are the norm for Tibi, who previously threatened captive Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas since 2004.
“If you increase the pressure on [terror] prisoners, we will increase the pressure on Gilad Schalit,” Tibi said.
Knesset rules laid down in 2002 require every trip taken by its members abroad, whether self-financed or publicly funded by the Knesset, be approved by the Ethics Committee.
The Committee, which was considering more serious censure, reached the decision after Tibi apologized and said the error stemmed from a mistake made by a parliamentary aide. Tibi pledged the mistake would not be repeated.
The committee noted Tibi has a history of making foreign trips without receiving approval from the committee. It also noted Tibi protested the proceedings verbally and in writing several times – and ignored instructions and requests by the committee – before making his apology.
The committee said it would keep Tibi's pattern of behavior in mind if future proceedings became necessary.