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Israeli Arab Physician Subjected to Travel Ban for Political Ties

An Israeli Arab physician was subjected Tuesday to restrictive measures by security forces because of his known contacts with the Palestinian political community.

Dr. Ahmad Tibi, a Jerusalem gynecologist, received notice from the Interior Ministry that he was banned from leaving the country for two months.

The ban was empowered under 1948 emergency regulations, based on “concern that Tibi would use his trip overseas to meet with hostile elements,” said Interior Minister Arye Deri.

Tibi said he had no intention to meet with people whom the law forbids meeting. Israeli law bans meetings between Israelis and members of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“The use of emergency regulations against Arab citizens of Israel is faulty, and amounts to a grave violation of democracy,” he said.

The restriction against Tibi follows a similar move last week against East Jerusalem activist Faisal Husseini, who is not an Israeli citizen.

Security forces in the past month have stepped up restrictive acts against Israeli Arabs since many Palestinians have expressed support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Last week, exit bans also were issued against two activists of the radical group Sons of the Country. Other Israeli Arabs were summoned for police interrogations on their positions.

One of these, Ibrahim Hussein, the mayor of Shfaram and chairman of the National Committee of Arab Mayors, issued a statement Tuesday condemning the warrant against Tibi. He described it as a “dangerous turning point in the attitude toward Israel’s Arabs. Such steps will jeopardize the relations between Jews and Arabs.”

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