Palestinians honor Kuwaiti official for heckling Knesset members
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Palestinians honor Kuwaiti official for heckling Knesset members

Marzouq al Ghanim named ‘personality of the year’ over October incident that saw Israeli lawmakers walk out of international forum

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Kuwaiti parliament speaker Marzouq al Ghanim heckles Israeli parliamentarians during a gathering in Saint Petersburg, Russia, last October 2017 (screen capture: YouTube)
Kuwaiti parliament speaker Marzouq al Ghanim heckles Israeli parliamentarians during a gathering in Saint Petersburg, Russia, last October 2017 (screen capture: YouTube)

A Palestinian group on Saturday declared Kuwaiti parliament speaker Marzouq al Ghanim “Personality of the Year 2018” because of his verbal attack on Knesset members during an international gathering of parliamentarians in Saint Petersburg, Russia, last October.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “blessed” the decision, according to Talal Abu Afifeh, chairman of the Jerusalem Intellectuals Forum, the non-profit cultural group that honored Ghanim.

Abbas also praised Ghanim for his “national role in supporting the Palestinian cause,” Abu Afifeh said in a statement published by the Kuwait News Agency.

Ghanim was honored because of his positions regarding the just rights of the Palestinian people, the forum said.

Video of the incident showed Ghanim denouncing the Israeli lawmakers who attended the Inter-Parliament Union assembly as “occupiers” and “murderers of children.”

Likud MK Sharren Heskel, Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin, Zionist Union MKs Yossi Yonah and Nachman Shai, and Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz complained that they were heckled while trying to speak at the event.

The MKs said they walked out of the gathering to protest the heckling and a series of anti-Israel resolutions.

However, several Palestinians and Arabs have been heaping praise on the Kuwaiti official for “expelling the Israeli delegation” from the event.

Since its establishment in East Jerusalem in late 2002, the Jerusalem Intellectuals Forum, which is licensed by the PA Interior Ministry, has been awarding Palestinian and Arab figures for “serving Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause in all fields.”

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