Orlev’s bill was devised after a number of Arab MKs met with family members of Hamas Parliamentarians living in East Jerusalem, and it gained momentum after numerous comments by Arab MKs in support of Hamas’ armed resistance against Israel and their refusal to condemn the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
NRP Chairman Zevulun Orlev observed the resulting fury among Israeli lawmakers and decided to propose a law disqualifying any MK supporting a terror organization, or identifying with a terrorist organization, from membership in the Knesset. Tuesday morning Orlev managed to garner coalition support to approve a hastened process for the bill in the Knesset committee, to advance its first stages of approval before the Knesset goes on recess.
Orlev: This isn't the Muqata
Speaking to Ynet, Orlev said: “Either Arab MKs that restrain themselves before the elections continue to keep their mouths shut after them as well, or the law will start restricting them. I am not prepared to accept a situation in which MK Bashara stands at the Knesset podium and refuses to condemn the kidnap of a soldier across Israel’s recognized international borders. I refuse to accept MK Ibrahim Sarsur meeting with Hamas ministers and encouraging them.”
Orlev added, “The is the Israeli parliament and not a branch of the Muqata. I won’t feel like I’m in a Palestinian parliament here. We won’t let them incite Arab Israeli citizens and encourage Hamas terrorists. Whoever wants to speak in this manner can go join the Palestinian Authority's parliament – now is their chance because the PA is missing a few parliament members right now.”
Arab MK: This is persecution
MK Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash) responded: “This is Orlev’s attempt to set an agenda for himself. The proposed law is an expression of political bankruptcy. In the existing situation there is law and order, and now we’re talking about a type of persecution, not the rule of law. Orlev’s intention is to persecute us during the session, political persecution every day and every hour.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said, “If they include the right-wing fascists in his law proposal, then I will vote in favor.”