Daily Israel Report

Akunis: Investigate Arab MK Over NY Trip On Behalf of PA

Likud MK Ofir Akunis formally called for an immediate probe into a trip to NY by MK Ahmed Tibi reportedly to support the PA statehood bid.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/19/2011, 8:02 PM

MK Ahmed Tibi in Ramallah
MK Ahmed Tibi in Ramallah
Flash 90

Israeli legislators are calling for an investigation into reports that Arab MK Ahmed Tibi has gone to New York on a mission that could be considered illegal -- if not altogether treasonous -- under the laws of the Jewish State.

Likud MK Ofir Akunis has formally called for a probe into the trip following a report published Sunday by the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency that claimed Tibi would participate in the PLO delegation to the United Nations this week.

Akunis filed the complaint with the Knesset Ethics Committee, saying such a trip would be illegal. He called on the government to open an immediate investigation into the Israeli Arab MK's trip to promote the PA's unilateral bid to create its hoped-for state abroad. Tibi, a chairman of the United Arab List's Ta'al party, has served since 2007 as the Deputy Speaker in Israel's Knesset.

However, the MK was reported by Ma'an as the “Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset”on the official list of delegates representing the Palestine Liberation Organization in its bid to gain recognition by the United Nations of the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign, independent nation, and membership for the entity in its ranks.

A spokesman later denied the report on behalf of the MK, and said Tibi was simply traveling to speak before an audience at Columbia University at the invitation of the American-Palestinian Congress. The spokesman made it clear, however, that Tibi's address would firmly promote the cause of the hoped-for PA state.

“Tibi is not a member of the Palestinian delegation, of course, but he is a strong supporter of the delegation and will express his position on every stage possible in New York,” he said in a statement.

The move “crossed another red line and proved that [Tibi] represents only the Palestinian interest in the Knesset and not the interests of Israel's Arab citizens,” said Akunis.