The Knesset Ethics Committee decided Tuesday to reprimand Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) for stating at a Knesset session last month that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had “blood on his hands.”
“…An individual who knowingly armed a murderous terror organization with weapons and ammunition, and added a myriad of additional combatants to its ranks had blood on his hands,” said MK Eldad at the session. “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert therefore has the blood of innocent civilians killed in terror attacks on his hands.”
These scathing remarks led Minister Ami Ayalon (Labor) to lodge a formal complaint against Eldad. Aylaon reasoned that Eldad’s statements had “clearly traversed the bounds of reasoned debate,” and that the Knesset “must draw up clear guidelines as to what can and can not be said even during such emotionally charged debates.”
MK Eldad defended his statements in front of the Knesset Ethic Committee and said that they “were a legitimate form of protest against the moral, legal and ethical travesty which the government espouses when it releases terrorists who have committed murder.”
The Knesset Ethics Committee did accept Eldad’s explanation, and decided Tuesday to reprimand the MK.
Ayalon: Statment crosses bounds of good taste
"Especially in our day and time when public debate has become markedly more impassioned and inflammatory, MKs must be extra vigilant to keep their statements well within the bounds of reasoned parliamentary debate,” stated the committee, also noting that “there is a fine line between freedom of speech and reckless words that might incite violence.”
In response to the committees decision, Eldad stated that his “statements regarding Olmert were an accurate depiction of the reality we face, and the committee’s decision reflects an attempt to keep the Knesset in a sterile and slightly surreal atmosphere.”
Minister Aylaon noted in turn that “in his opinion, accusing the prime minister of having blood on his hands clearly crosses the bounds of good taste, and that MK Eldad’s refusal to recant his statements even in wake of the committee’s decision is troubling.”
Admonishing MKs to “conduct political debates within reasoned limits in order o avoid a slippery slope of violence that can cause a true rift in the nation.”
Minister Aylaon also noted that MK Eldad had formerly chaired the Ethics Committee and had had imposed a stiff penalty on an MK who made similar statements.