Arab-Israeli Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi’s assertion that fellow Israeli parliament member Taleb Abu Arar lives in a village that’s deprived of water and electricity by an Israeli government that discriminates against Arabs is untrue, according to an investigative report on Israel’s Channel 2.
A firestorm of sorts broke out on Monday on the Knesset floor when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was addressing the Israeli legislature, was heckled by Tibi and Abu Arar.
The Canadian premier’s uncompromisingly pro-Israel speech provoked a verbal scuffle between Tibi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who extolled the freedoms enjoyed by his countrymen. “Here in our Parliament everyone can express his opinion, can stand up and speak, shout and mock – but it is impossible to do so in Damascus,” Netanyahu said at the time.
In response, MK Tibi openly questioned whether Arab Israeli citizens are treated equally. Turning directly to Harper and addressing him in English, he claimed that fellow MK Abu Arar lives without water and electricity. Tibi and Arar continued their tirade even as the visiting Canadian leader addressed the Knesset.
However, photographs of Arar’s home released today clearly show the existence of a fuse box. In other published pictures of his residence, one can see a satellite dish and air conditioners as well, Channel 2 reported.
In a subsequent radio interview, Abu Arar tried to explain the apparent discrepancy between Tibi’s Knesset floor version of his living conditions and the truth. “When Ahmed Tibi said it, he was referring to the general Bedouin population, not to Taleb Abu Arar specifically,” he said.
MK Ahmad Tibi also attempted to clarify the point he was trying to make while shouting down a visiting foreign leader during an official address to the Israeli parliament. According to Tibi: “I was referring to the entire region and its unrecognized villages…so calm down.”