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Former MK Azmi Bishara
Photo: AFP
Hizbullah offers Bishara asylum in Beirut
Shiite group says Azmi Bishara is 'fighter in Arab resistance movement,' offering him asylum in Lebanon

A senior Hizbullah official said Thursday that a former Arab Israeli MK accused by Israel of aiding the Shiite group during last summer's war would be welcomed as a political refugee in Lebanon.

 

Israel has accused Azmi Bishara of tipping Hizbullah about possible targets during the 34-day conflict when the Shiite guerrillas fired thousands of rockets towards the Jewish State.

 

"Should Azmi Bishara decide to seek political asylum here, we will welcome him on Lebanese soil," said Dr Ahmad Mali, a member of Hizbullah's political council.

 

Bishara left Israel for a tour of Arab countries three weeks ago and submitted his resignation from the Knesset at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

 

While he was away rumors surfaced that he was being investigated for a number of security offenses, but a gag order on the probe prevented access to the nature of his offenses.

 

After a court lifted the gag order this week, it was revealed that the former Balad MK was suspected of receiving large sums of money from a foreign agent for transferring intelligence and giving strategic advice to Hizbullah.

 

"We welcome all the Mujahidine (holy fighters) on Lebanese soil," Mali told the Arab Israeli magazine Kul al-Arab.

 

Israel declared that Bishara would be arrested should he return.

 

The Hizbullah official called Bishara "a fighter" and said he was leading a "battle of resistance" against Israel. He also advised Bishara to seek refuge in Beirut, but said it was up to the former MK to decide where he wanted to settle.

 

"I believe this decision belongs to the fighter Azmi Bishara. As for us we will do all to assist in this battle of resistance," Mali said.

 

Bishara's colleague Jamal Zahalka told Ynet that Bishara would not seek refuge abroad. "Dr. Bishara will not seek political asylum anywhere. His return to Israel is certain and will be discussed when things quiet down," Zahalka said.

 

The Hizbullah official also accused Israel of fabricating the accusations against Bishara to dent his image as a "fighter" and an "Arab symbol."

 

"The aim of Israel through these accusations is to destroy his image as a fighter … as an Arab leader and symbol," said Mali.

 

Quoting Israeli analysts, Mali added that Bishara possessed no valuable information to transfer to Hizbullah.

 

"Hizbullah is part of the Arab resistance movement and Azmi Bishara is part of this resistance," Mali said when asked whether Bishara received money from the Shiite group in return for his services.

 

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