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Daily Israel Report

Lieberman Dismisses Knesset Rebuke

FM Avigdor Lieberman says criticism from the Ethics Committee for calling to boycott a committee headed by Ahmed Tibi doesn't faze him
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/22/2012, 5:48 PM

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Flash 90 / archive

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday said he is unfazed by the Knesset Ethics Committee decision to reprimand him for instructing his Yisrael Beytenu faction to boycott a committee chaired by MK Ahmed Tibi.

Lieberman says that "committee became the committee of MK Tibi, and its main function is to assure he has an office, services, and drivers. His committee is not interested in the condition of Arabs in Israel, and is doing everything it possibly can to hurt Arab integration into Israeli society."

"Tibi's purpose is to damage relations between the Arab citizens of Israel and the rest of the population, and therefore we should not cooperate with him," Lieberman repeated, ignoring the reprimand.

Tibi, who heads the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on the Integration of Arab Employees in the Public Sector, filed a formal complaint with the Ethics Committee on February when Lieberman first ordered the boycott.

Tibi's complaint quoted Lieberman as saying, "I asked all ministers to stop cooperating with the Parliamentary Committee of Ahmed Tibi. I also asked that the Minister will direct their subordinates not attend its meetings, and to ignore it."

Tibi said that Lieberman also issued a press release in the same spirit – saying doing so violated Israeli law.

Lieberman sought to postpone the Tibi's complaint, and argued that they held no substance. He added that Tibi, frequently censured by the Ethics Committee himself, was being a hypocritical.

"On January 17 he slandered the Ethics Committee, and now he seeks to use it to harm others and preserve his unnecessary committee chairmanship,” he said.

The Ethics Committee wrote that general Knesset rules governing committees obligate all ministers and their subordinate employees to cooperate with parliamentary investigatory committees, like Tibi's.

They did not, however, determine that refusing to do so was a statuatory violation of Israeli law.