Israeli Arab lawmaker takes ‘our struggle’ to the White House

Special to

After failing to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front, the Obama administration turned its attention this week to Israeli Arabs.

The White House and State Department hosted Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi of Israel’s Joint List party. Tibi met with U.S. President Barak Obama’s chief adviser to the Middle East, Robert Malley, and other senior officials at the White House.

Israeli Arab MK Ahmad Tibi. /Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israeli Arab MK Ahmad Tibi. /Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

“Simultaneously with our struggle within Israel, the Knesset and outside it, it is necessary to spread the word regarding the Arab public’s situation and distress to the international community, including the United States,” Tibi told journalists at a news conference.

At the State Department, Tibi met with U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Frank Lowenstein, and Christopher Henzel, director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

Tibi spoke about the “institutionalized discrimination against Arab citizens in all walks of life, including the demolition of homes, the lack of employment and racist legislation. Once again I found a lack of knowledge on our social and political situation, and this requires all of us to increase our efforts in the important international forum.

“There is not a single member of the current Israeli government, including [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who publicly supports the vision of the two states and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state; whereas all the Palestinian ministers support that vision,” Tibi said.

According to the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) monitoring organization, Tibi was seen at a September 2011 Palestinian Authority event carried on PA TV “openly praising Arab terrorists with the symbol of the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (the black-and-white keffiyeh) around his neck.”

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