MK Eldad: He who gives away lands will be sentenced to death
Right-wing Knesset members slam government at special meeting held by Knesset's Golan lobby following resumed peace negotiations between Israel, Syria. National Union MK Eldad refers to treason clause in Penal Law. Meretz MK Cohen: Eldad should be probed for incitement. PM's Office: Eldad, his remarks unworthy of a response
He whose acts remove lands from the State's territories and from its control will be sentenced to death, Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) said Monday.
Eldad spoke during a special meeting of the Knesset's Golan Heights lobby. He explained that he was referring to "a definition of the treason clause in the Penal Law."
His faction member, MK Effie Eitam, a resident of Moshav Nov in the Golan, noted that "we must make it clear that we are talking about death by a court of law."
Following the remarks, MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) said he would file a complaint with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, demanding that MK Eldad be probed for incitement.
"These words of slander are reminiscent of the days before (former Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin's murder and must not be heard," Cohen explained. "The law enforcement authorities must prevent this from a public figure."
An official at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Office said in response to Eldad's remarks that "the man and his words are unworthy of a response."
NU-NRP MK Zevulun Orlev said in a letter to Eldad that he was "amazed by the remarks." Orlev wrote, "Your call may be understood as permitting another political murder of a prime minister. I urge you to take back these remarks."
'Olmert should be tried for treason'
On Monday evening, Eldad sent a letter to Attorney General Mazuz in which he sought to clarify his remark.
In the letter titled "A treason offence", Eldad claimed that "the Golan Heights Law from 1981 applies the Israeli law on the Golan Heights as it is a sovereign part of the State of Israe. The Israeli Penal Code from 1977 defines in clause 97B the term 'treason': A person who caused a territory to be removed from the State's sovereignty or enter the sovereignty of a foreign country, an act which could lead to a death sentence or life imprisonment."
The MK added that "since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that he is holding Turkish mediated negotiations with Syria, which are aimed at signing a peace agreement in exchange for handing over the Golan Heights to Syria, his acts are similar to a treason offense.
"I would be much obliged if you could instruct the police to launch a probe into this matter, and if it is found that Mr. Olmert committed this offense, you should instruct that he be tried for treason."
In an event held Monday evening, Eldad said, "All I did was quote the law. I am sorry if I helped Olmert by diverting the public opinion nd the media's attention from his cash envelopes."
The Golan lobby members convened following the resumed peace negotiations between Israel and Syria. The meeting was attended by Minister Rafi Eitam (Pensioners Party), right-wing MKs and representatives of communities in the Golan, as well as two Kadima MKs: Zeev Elkin and Otniel Schneller.
The lobby chairman, MK Yisrael Katz (Likud), said at the start of the meeting that "the bright side is the Israeli public's stance. Seventy percent of the public oppose an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. The people are stronger than their leaders."
Sami Bar Lev, head of the Katzrin Council, said that "the residents are strong and we believe that no one – neither the prime minister nor the person who succeeds him – will manage to harm the Golan Heights. It is a sovereign part of the State. There is no majority for this not in the Knesset and not among the people."
Bar Lev, who has been politically active in a bid to thwart the move, met Sunday with the prime minister's two deputies, Minister Eli Yishai and Shaul Mofaz, who promised him to oppose a withdrawal from the Golan.
"By giving away the Golan at this time we would be transferring the area to Iran," Mofaz told Bar Lev and other heads of communities in the Golan.
'Giving away Golan is like giving away Tel Aviv'
MK Eitam added during the meeting that as many people as possible should visit the Golan. He warned against manipulations aimed at changing the public opinion, which he said opposed a withdrawal from the Golan.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) joined the meeting in the middle, saying that "when one sticks a hoe in the Golan land, what does one discover? Syrian antiques? One discovers synagogues and other antiques belonging to the Jewish people."
Netanyahu went on to say that "the late Rabin said in 1992 that whoever withdraws from the Golan Heights would be endangering Israel's security. This statement was true then, it is true today, and it will be true tomorrow as well."
Minister Eitan said that three of his granddaughters live in the Golan, adding that "the security argument is a first-class argument. Iran is joining the Shiites and Hamas, sooner or later it will come, and then what will we say? That the Syrians are on Lake Kinneret? For me, giving away a part of the Golan Heights is like giving away a part of Tel Aviv."
MK Yoram Marciano was the only Labor Party member to attend the meeting. "Parts of the Labor Party support you," he said. "I am all for peace, but it is unthinkable that any negotiations start with concessions and then talks. I am here to say no to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights."
'Eldad using words that kill'
MK Ophir Pines (Labor) also sent a letter to Mazuz demanding that he launch an investigation against Eldad. "MK Eldad is using words that kill. He is denying the rules of the democratic games and he has no place in the Knesset. After Rabin's murder we must not let a public figure incite and cause a rebellion."
President Shimon Peres said in a special statement that "regardless of any political views, no one in Israel should stain the political discourse with such statement, which only spread violence and opposes the State's basic values, Jewish morals and the law."
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that "Arieh Eldad is a provocateur of the cheapest kind, who has no problem causing the social fabric to collapse in a bid to appear in the media and spark provocations." Hasson added that "in his unfit remark, he has turned himself into an unfit person."
MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) also expressed his anger over the remark, saying that "the extreme Right's leader have learned nothing from the Rabin murder. He must immediately take back what he said."
MK Danny Yatom (Labor) also called on Eldad to take back his remarks. "These remarks are extremely serious and must be condemned by all. These words of incitement against people are so harsh that they may cause people to get hurt."
Aviram Zino and Roni Sofer contributed to this report