Israeli MK Off to NYC – with Abbas
On Sunday, MK Ahmed Tibi’s office denied reports that he was traveling to New York as part of a Palestinian Authority delegation. The next day, Tibi uploaded pictures to his Facebook page in which he can be seen alongside PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, senior PA negotiator Nabil Shaath and other PA delegates on a plane to New York.
The pictures, printed Tuesday by Maariv/Nrg, show Tibi deep in discussion with Abbas, and reviewing documents with other delegates.
Despite the photos, Tibi continues to deny that he is part of the PA delegation. “I was honored and gratified to fly on the plane of Abu Mazen, president of the Palestinian Authority… I flew on the plane from Amman to New York as a guest, not as a member of the Palestinian delegation,” he told Maariv.
While Tibi denied official support for the PA, he proudly admitted to helping the PA advance its cause. “I support the Palestinian position and work to promote it. I do not hide this,” he stated.
The PA has linked its own statehood bid to terrorism, choosing Monday to have the mother of several terrorists who murdered Israelis kick off the appeal to the UN.
Tibi and several other Arab MKs have openly backed the PA over Israel in recent weeks, encouraging PA leaders to go ahead with attempts to establish a state unilaterally, and undermining Israel’s efforts to win foreign support for negotiations over unilateral moves.
Suspicions were raised over Tibi’s PA ties when the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency listed him as one of the members of Abbas’ delegation. The veteran MK worked as an advisor to the PA prior to joining the Knesset, and even represented the PA in talks with Israel.
Several Zionist MKs attempted to bar Tibi from Knesset in 2003 over his support for the PA and for terrorism. While their initiative was successful, it was later overturned by the Supreme Court, and Tibi has since gone on to be reelected three times.
MKs in Likud and the National Union expressed outrage at Tibi’s latest activities. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said he would demand an explanation, while MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) said he would file a complaint to the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.