State Prosecutor Moshe Lador has a rejected a request by Israeli attorney Yossi Fuchs to launch a criminal investigation against Arab MK Ahmed Tibi for incitement, over a speech in which he praised the Palestinian Authority’s ‘martyrs’.
During a ceremony held on the occasion of "Palestinian Martyrs Day” and sponsored by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas last January, Tibi said, “In the history of the peoples and their battles, the Palestinian shahid (martyr) is the height of glory. There is no higher value than death for the sake of Allah. The martyr is the one who breaks through and with his blood draws the journey to freedom and liberation.”
The ceremony was broadcast on official PA TV and was translated by the Palestinian Media Watch research organization, which presented the translated video on its website.
However, in a letter sent to Attorney Fuchs by Lador’s assistant, Lador expressed doubt that Tibi meant to praise the actions of suicide bombers in his remarks. Lador also claimed that there is doubt over whether there is a real possibility that Tibi’s remarks will lead to violence.
The letter was also sent on behalf of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. It also mentioned other public speeches made by Tibi in which he unequivocally condemned terrorist attacks and killings of Israelis by terrorists. These speeches, Lador claimed, put Tibi’s martyrs speech in a different light.
Fuchs said in response, “I regret the fact that the Attorney General works with great determination against the Regulation Law which deals with property rights, out of a farfetched fear of the International Criminal Court, but on the other hand refrains from acting against MKs who praise the ‘shahids’ and advocate for acts of terror, which are by definition war crimes.”
He added, “If this is not enough, the Attorney General based his decision not to open a criminal investigation against MK Tibi on a Supreme Court decision from 2003 in the Azmi Bishara affair, after he expressed support for a terrorist group…. The end of that case is known: five months after the court gave its verdict, Azmi Bishara went from supporting terrorist organizations with words only to helping Hizubllah aim its missiles at Israeli population centers during the Second Lebanon War.”
Bishara, who headed the Arab Balad party, fled the country after being indicted for aiding Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War. The Knesset later passed a law that empowers courts to take away the citizenship of a person who has been convicted of terrorism, aiding the enemy in wartime, causing war, serving in enemy forces or espionage. It also voted to stop paying Bishara’s pension.
Fuchs noted that he plans to “examine the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court against this misguided decision.”