Tibi, Ahmad

(1958- )
   Israeli Arab politician and member of the Knesset controversial for his long-standing ties to senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership, including Yasser Arafat. Born in Taibeh, he prefers to define himself as a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship. A gynecologist by profession, he served for many years as a principal advisor to Arafat and conduit for secret contacts between Israeli peace activists and the PLO prior to the start of the Oslo peace process (when such contacts were still illegal for Israelis).
   Tibi formed the Ta'al (Arab Movement for Change) faction to contest the 1996 election for the 14th Knesset. It was registered as a party only after seven attempts to disqualify it were rejected by the Central Elections Committee; attempts were made to have Tibi disqualified from participating in the election due to his association with Arafat. As it is, he and Ta'al failed to pass the threshold for winning a seat in the 14th Knesset. Tibi joined with Azmi Bishara's National Democratic Assembly (Balad) Party to contest the 1999 election to the 15th Knesset, taking a total of three mandates. However, Tibi subsequently broke away from Bishara's Balad to sit as a one-man Knesset faction.
   For the 2003 election to the 16th Knesset, Tibi and Ta'al entered into a coalition with the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash). Tibi was initially disqualified by the Central Elections Committee due to his association with Arafat and with Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti. However, this decision was overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel, and the Ta'al-Hadash joint ticket went on to win three seats in the 16th Knesset. Tibi was re-elected to the 17th Knesset in March 2006 on the United Arab List-Ta'al joint list.
   See also Arab Political Parties.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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