During heated debate on Arab MKs' travel to Libya, deputy Knesset speaker instructs arab MK Tibi to conclude speech, who in turn refuses.
Ushers eventually escort MK off of podium
Ynet Published: 04.28.10, 14:51 / Israel News
Drama at the plenum. Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) was removed from the Knesset plenum podium by ushers Wednesday after refusing to leave the platform and end his speech, despite repeated demands from Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Carmel Shama.
MK Tibi was speaking regarding the Arab MKs' visit in Libya. Shama instructed him to conclude and said, "Your time is up," to which he replied, "My time will be up when God decides so." The MK claimed he wasn't finished speaking and the two argued for several minutes.
Later on Tibi addressed Shama again and said, "You are terrorizing me now" and Shama responded, "Terror doesn’t usually come from our side." Tibi described the statement as "low."
When MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu) approached the podium, Tibi became furious and shouted, "They brought someone from Yisrael Beiteinu to take me down."
After the deputy Knesset speaker received a note, ushers proceeded to remove Tibi from the podium, who still tried to hold on to the platform. The MK then returned to his seat.
During his speech, Tibi addressed the issue of the Arab MKs' trip to Libya. "Everyone gave a speech, which is exactly what we're saying here. Try to understand what I say and show empathy for the fact that an Arab wants to be part of his space.
"An Arab person is speaking about the need for freedom and justice."
MK Shama asked him, "Where is there freedom in the Arab world?" and Tibi responded, "There are 40 laws discriminating against the Arab sector in Israel."
After the drama MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) addressed the Arab MKs and said, "We're all happy you went, why didn't you stay? Gaddafi loves you so much."
Tibi later commented on the incident and said Shama abused his position as the session's chair when he called in the ushers.
"Anyone who argues that they are part of a democracy must demonstrate the ability to listen to others, since democracy is my right to express my opinion, even if it is different. I regret that the Likud elections and the Feiglin syndrome have distracted Shama," he said
Shama later explained his conduct, "My duty as chairman of the Knesset plenum is to maintain order. Any attempt at anarchism on the podium will be treated with proper sensitivity and determination. Unfortunately MK Tibi chose the path of provocation."
Earlier on Wednesday Knesset Committee chairman MK Yariv Levin received a request from MK Michael Ben Ari to revoke the immunity of the Arab MKs and deny some of their rights. The committee will address the issue.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that he has reservations about using the word "traitors" to describe the Arab MKs.
MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad) said that the Arab MKs decided to boycott the debate regarding the revocation of their immunity. "What country, what democracy can define a person's identity as an act of treason? Not Israel, not the Knesset and certainly not Yariv Levin can reshape our identity and history," she said.
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