MK Azmi Bishara
Photo: Ata Awisat

Report: MK Bishara to resign from Knesset

Balad chairman has left Israel and is expected to resign from Knesset after Passover, Israeli Arab newspaper al-Sinara reports; Balad MK Wasil Taha denies report. Bishara questioned by police several times in past, particularly following his visits to Syria

Balad chairman, Knesset Member Azmi Bishara, has left Israel and is expected to submit his resignation from the Knesset after Passover, the website of the Nazareth-based newspaper al-Sinara reported Sunday afternoon, quoting "senior sources."


One of Bishara's associates told Ynet, "He is now in Amman and is seriously considering not returning. He is considering submitting his resignation from the Knesset next week."

The police confirmed that Bishara had left the country.


Balad MK Wasil Taha denied the report. "The publication is unfounded," he told Ynet.


"Knesset Member Bishara did not leave the country. He was invited to take part in a number of conventions and important meetings in Qatar, India and Egypt. In one of the conventions he is expected to be one of the main speakers, and may also hold meetings regarding his book which is about to be published," he said.


Asked whether Bishara planned to resign, Taha said, "This is a hypothetical matter. The resignation issue is his private matter, and we know nothing about it."


Bishara has been questioned by the police several times in the past, particularly following his visits to Syria.


According to the short report, the MK left the country two weeks ago and returned on Thursday for a couple of hours in order to attend a wedding in Nazareth.


The Israeli Arab newspaper reported that Bishara planned to submit his resignation letter via one of his colleagues.


According to the report, Bishara is also expected to announce his resignation on the Qatari-based satellite TV station al-Jazeera, where he recently appeared several times as a commentator. His party is also expected to issue a statement on the matter.


Trip to Syria

More than half a year ago, MK Bishara was questioned by the Police International Investigation Unit after traveling to Syria and Lebanon. Before he was questioned, Bishara said that those who should have listened to his impressions from the visit were the prime minister or minister, rather than the police.


Bishara went on to call the law which prohibits visits to Syria and Lebanon a political law.


"They are using propaganda here for which principle? For what, for something they long to do. The law which prohibits trips is a political law made by small politicians.


"Would Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On allow me to work politically? He would like me not to even visit Israel. This is a political struggle, they are fighting against us. They should take care of their own business and leave politics for us," he said.


About two weeks ago, the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center organization petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that the citizenships of the three members of the Balad faction be revoked following their visit to Syria several months ago.


The petitioners urged Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik to dismiss the MKs. The petition is based on the Citizenship Law, according to which an Israeli citizen automatically loses his citizenship if he visits an enemy state.


According to Basic Law: The Knesset, anyone who is not an Israeli citizen cannot serve as a Knesset member; the petition therefore claims that the three National Democratic Assembly members could not keep their positions, as they violated the Citizenship law, and as a result should lose their citizenship.


The petition emphasized that the MKs were not immune to the law.


“The Knesset Member Immunity Law, which allows Knesset member to leave the country unrestrictedly, does not allow them to enter enemy states without permission,” it pointed out.


פרסום ראשון: 04.08.07, 14:41
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