Palestinian-Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi says he was 'punched in stomach' by Israeli soldier

Palestinian-Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi says he was 'punched in stomach' by Israeli soldier
Palestinian-Israeli parliamentarian Ahmed Tibi was assaulted at the entrance at Al-Sahla Street in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron after his delegation was blocked from entering.
2 min read
19 August, 2021
Ahmed Tibi during a visit to the occupied West Bank [Getty]

A Palestinian-Israeli parliamentarian was allegedly punched in the stomach by an Israeli soldier during a planned trip to the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, according to a complaint this week.

Ahmad Tibi, a senior member of the largely Arab Joint List party, filed a complaint against an Israeli soldier on Tuesday who refused to allow him and party colleagues from entering a street in Hebron as innovations being made at the sacred Ibrahimi Mosque took place.

Tibi said the assault took place on Saturday when the soldier refused to take orders from the Border Police to let his delegation through.

The complaint alleged that the soldier insisted that he, as a soldier, did not take orders from the Border Police.

He also allegedly struck Tibi and boasted about preventing the four legislators from entering the site.

"This involved violent, aggressive, and bullying behaviour is a physical attack and a blatant violation of a Knesset member's immunity," Tibi said in the complaint, translated by Haaretz.

"I arrived there accompanied by the police and Border Police, and it was clear to everyone that we were MKs. We got to Al-Sahla Street and all of a sudden a soldier stood facing us, trying to prevent us from entering."

Tibi says the soldier shouted: "Who are you anyway? The fact that you're MKs doesn't interest me."

Al-Sahla Street in the West Bank town is near the mosque and the Israeli settlement of Avraham Avinu.

Renovations are being done to make the site more accessible, but Tibi was not allowed to enter by the Israeli army.

The Israeli road works have sparked heavy criticism in the largely Palestinian town, including from officials from the municipality and the Islamic religious trust, also known as the Waqf.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesperson Tareq Selmi suggested last week that Israel's renovations - including a lift reserved for illegal settlers and an access road to the site - are intended to destroy the holy place's traditional and Muslim character..

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The Israeli army's spokesperson has said the soldier according to procedures.

Honenu, the legal aid group, says Chaim Blaycher, a lawyer assisting the soldier's family, filed a complaint with the police alleging that Tibi "tried to interfere with my client's performance of his task by entering by force an area under supervision and of high security sensitivity".

"The suspect [Tibi] seriously and blatantly attacked the soldier and also humiliated and insulted him in public. The suspect is indeed a Knesset member, but his action is a clear criminal offense," he added.