Veteran communist leader Tawfik Toubi is dead

Veteran Communist Party of Israeli (CPI) leader Tawfik Toubi dead today (March 12, 2011). His funereal is to take place tomorrow, Sunday, in Haifa.

Toubi was born in Haifa, in 1922, and was educated at the Mount Zion School in Jerusalem. He joined the Palestine Communist Party in 1941 and later was one of the founders of the League for National Liberation.

He remains in Haifa during the Naqba and becomes a defender of the Arab-Palestinian population in the Northern city. He was elected to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in 1949 as a leading member of the CPI. He was re-elected to the Knesset for more than 40 years. Beginning in the 1950’s, Toubi was a member of the presidium of the Israeli Committee for Peace and the presidium of the World Peace Council.

In 1976 he was elected as Deputy Secretary General of Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), serving as its Secretary General from 1989 – 1993. Following his retirement, he continued to be the editor and publisher of the daily Communist Party’s newspaper in Arabic “Al Ittihad”.

Toubi is remembered as the exposer (along with Meir Vilner) of the Kafr Qassem massacre of Palestinians in 1956. Toubi raised several times the issue of the right or return for the Palestinian refuges. First of all after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, he demanded that the inhabitants of al-Birwa be allowed to return to their homes, a request refused by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. After the 1967 war and occupation of the Palestinian territories he requested of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan that the inhabitants of Yallo be allowed to return to their homes. The requested that was similarly denied. Toubi was the last surviving member of the first Knesset.

“Tawfik’s death is a great loss to the Communist Party and to the Palestinian-Arab public,” said CPI Secretary General, Mohammed Nafa’h. “He was a diligent militant and a brilliant and modest parliamentarian; a man of peace, merit and honor. He left behind him a rich and respected legacy.”