Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
MK Azmi Bishara
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Photo: Avi Cohen
MK Wasil Taha
Photo: Avi Cohen
Photo: Hagai Aharon
MK Jamal Zahalka
Photo: Hagai Aharon

Mazuz to investigate Arab MKs who went to Syria

MKs Bishara, Zahalka and Taha will be investigated for visiting enemy country without authorization. Many MKs appeal to attorney general regarding illegality of trip itself, MKs' statements to Syrian leaders

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decided Sunday to investigate Knesset Members Azmi Bishara, Jamal Zahalka and Wasil Taha who recently visited Syria without authorization.


The Assistant to the Attorney General's, lawyer Raz Nezri, sent a letter about the matter to the head of the police investigation and information branch, Major General Yohanan Danino. The MKs will be investigated for visiting an enemy country illegally.


Last year, MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) was investigated for visiting Syria despite a prohibition by the interior minister.


Bishara, who flew to Damascus with a delegation of former and current MKs from his party – the National Democratic Assembly, arrived in Syria last Friday and spoke out against 'Israeli occupation'.


In meetings with senior members of the ruling Baath party, Bishara warned Syria of the possibility that "Israel launch a preliminary offensive in more than one place, in a bid to overcome the internal crisis in the country and in an attempt to restore its deterrence capability."


Knesset reaction

Minister of the Interior Ronnie Bar-On asked Mazuz to open an investigation against the three MKs. Bar-On Bar-On said in his petition that the three left for Syria without authorization, which is required by law. As such, their trip is illegal.


"All necessary steps must be taken in order to bring these three MKs to justice, and to stop this shameful phenomenon," said Bar-On.


Knesset Member Otniel Schneller (Kadima) harshly criticized Knesset Member Azmi Bishara's visit to Syria and the statement he made during the visit, and declared that he plans to ask the attorney general to look into the possibility of detaining Bishara upon his return to the country.


Schneller wants to see the Arab MK's immunity revoked and to have him stand trial for supporting the enemy in wartime.  "It's not enough that Bishara is a traitor to the state, he now betrays his Arab constituency, who are still licking their wounds from thousands of Syrian-made rockets," he stated.


National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev is asking to facilitate legislation that he proposed pursuant to the Arab MKs' trip to Syria, which would remove from office any Member of Knesset who supports an enemy or terrorist organization.


Orlev appealed to Chairman of the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee MK Menahem Ben-Sasson to convene an immediate committee meeting in order to discuss such legislation. Orlev also appealed to Mazuz to open a criminal investigation against the three.


Ilan Marciano contributed to this article


פרסום ראשון: 09.10.06, 17:49
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