The second largest political group in the European Parliament, the S&D (made up of Socialists and Social Democrats) has decided to sign a partnership agreement with an Arab Israeli political party.
The agreement was announced during the visit in Brussels of a delegation from the Arab Movement for Change party led by is leader Ahmad Tibi who met with the S&D Group president Gianni Pitella.
According to S&D Vice-President Elena Valenciano, "the Palestinian Arab community in Israel has the potential to play a crucial role in achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which makes their involvement in and contribution to the peace process imperative.’’
She continued: "This community is facing many challenges today and continues to fight for its individual and collective rights. Realising this potential requires equal rights for them in their own country, which is not the case today. We are particularly concerned about the new nationality law proposal that is currently discussed in the Knesset, which goes against this principle and would make Palestinian Arabs in Israel second-class citizens even more than they are today."
Ahmad Tibi will participate in the S&D conference on the Middle East peace process which will take place in the European Parliament end of June with the participation of Israeli, Palestinian, European and American speakers.
Tibi is an Anti-Zionist. He supports an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and a two-state solution, with a Palestinian state established alongside Israel. He also opposes Israel's character as a Jewish state, claiming that its self-definition as Jewish is racist, and favors Israel becoming a "state of all its citizens". Accordingly, he supports removing icons that represent the special status of the Jewish majority, including the Law of Return, the flag, and the national anthem. He opposes the recruitment of Arab citizens of Israel into the IDF. Tibi also supports the Palestinian right of return, calling it a prerequisite for reconciliation, but has stated that he believes only a small percentage of Palestinian refugees would actually choose to move to Israel.