The Knesset Ethics Committee on Tuesday banned MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List), a deputy parliament speaker, from running Knesset plenum sessions for a period of two weeks for throwing Minister Zeev Elkin out of a session last month.
Tibi, who was chairing a debate on a cabinet decision to enforce closures and curfews on some east Jerusalem neighborhoods, ordered ushers to escort Immigration and Absorption Minister Elkin from the podium and out of the plenary hall after the latter accused him and other Arab lawmakers of bearing responsibility for the ongoing wave of Palestinian terror that has gripped the country.
When Elkin took to the podium to respond on behalf of the government during the debate, he said, ”It is important to understand why the wave of terror is happening,” and charged that Tibi ”and people like you” are ”spreading lies in the full knowledge of what Israel is doing on the Temple Mount.”
”You and your comrades are responsible for the blood spilled in the recent events, both of Jews and Arabs,” Elkin shouted at Tibi, who was sitting a few meters away in the speaker`s chair. ”You, personally, should not sleep at night and should think about everyone who has been killed in the recent weeks and what part you have played in what happened.”
”You are inciting against me irresponsible incitement, I request that the minister be removed from the podium,” Tibi fumed. ”I am the sovereign here (in the plenum). What is going on here is unprecedented, I never called for violence. You have crossed a red line. Over the past few days I have been subjected to attacks and calls to execute me.”
The Ethics Committee, headed by MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), said in its decision that Tibi did not abuse his authority in removing Elkin from the podium, but did do so when he ejected the minister from the hall without calling him to order three times, as required by the rules of procedure. Both Elkin and Tibi had complained to the committee.
The Ethics Committee reprimanded Elkin for accusing Tibi of bearing responsibility for the recent terror attacks, saying his comments ”strayed in an extreme way from legitimate discourse between the speaker and the chairman of the session.”