Tibi praises archterrorist as a 'national leader'

Joint List MK explains his party's political aspirations after it recommended that Benny Gantz become prime minister.

Ben Ariel ,

Ahmed Tibi and Ayman Odeh
Ahmed Tibi and Ayman Odeh
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) spoke on Monday about the political aspirations of his party, a day after it recommended that Benny Gantz become prime minister.

In an interview with Channel 13 News, Tibi said, "We want to be influential players in the political field, our recommendation has meaning - we want to stop Binyamin Netanyahu and bring him down. We did so in the elections - 13 seats that blocked him from forming a narrow right-wing government."

"We have turned from a minority persecuted by Netanyahu to a Netanyahu-persecuting minority. That effect can continue. We will not sit in the coalition, but if Gantz establishes a narrow government with Meretz, Labor and the haredim, without Liberman, there is something to talk about, an obstructive bloc from the outside like in the 1990s, with an agreement and achievements for the Arab public," he continued.

Tibi elaborated on the list of demands: "If Gantz is the next prime minister, I estimate that the Kaminitz Law, which increased the fines for planning and construction offenses, would be repealed and a basic law on equality that we have not had for 70 years will be enacted.” In addition, Tibi estimated that an economic plan would be established and that the government would address the issue of crime in Arab society.

Tibi then praised archterrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving several life sentences in Israel for his role in planning terrorist attacks against Israelis.

"Barghouti is a symbol and a national leader who is in prison. He is engaged in the struggle for two states for two peoples and on the way to liberation, violent acts are carried out. It’s called revolutionary violence. Some of the acts are wrong. In my opinion, it is a serious mistake to harm civilians," he said.

Tibi is furious over the comparison between him and Itamar Ben Gvir, who posted a photo of Jewish murderer Baruch Goldstein in his living room.

"Comparing me to a Kahanist is a serious issue. I’m a person with a humanitarian agenda. I have never said anything racist against a Jew. Barghouti is engaged in a national struggle that includes violence. I want to change that toward a shared life, toward a brighter future than this darkness to which the occupation and rule over another nation takes us,” he argued.

Tibi is one of the more controversial Arab MKs in the Knesset, having in the past encouraged Arabs to disobey the “Muezzin Law” which would limit the use of loudspeakers during the call to prayer in mosques.

He has also praised the Palestinian Authority’s “martyrs” at a ceremony held on the occasion of "Palestinian Martyrs Day” and sponsored by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Tibi once described Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman as a “Jewish ISIS”, after Liberman advocated for “cutting of the heads” of Arabs who were not loyal to Israel.

Earlier this year, he spoke of his dream to one day become Israel’s prime minister, “and if I it’s not me, then it will be another Ahmed, Mohammed or Mahmoud," he added.