MK Mohammad Barakeh
Photo: Ofer Amram
'MK Barakeh traveled overseas for PA'
Foreign Ministry files formal complaint against Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh for allegedly representing Ramallah on official visit to Poland

The Foreign Ministry files an official grievance against Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh on Tuesday, alleging that he traveled on an official visit to Poland on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.


The complaint said that Barakeh traveled on behalf of the PA on two separate occasions, thus violating Knesset regulations.


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The trips date back to 2010: According to the complaint, in January of last year Barakeh joined an official Israeli mission to Auschwitz, but at some point in the delegation's visit to Poland he joined several PA officials who were visiting the country as well.


In Early December he visited Warsaw once more and gave a lecture, but the proper Knesset authorities were not kept abreast of the engagement.


ביקור בפולין. ניצל את הנסיעה? (צילום: איציק הררי הכנסת)

Barakeh in Auschwitz (Photo courtesy of the Knesset)


Knesset sources told Ynet that the violation was particularly serious because as a Knesset member, Barakeh's salary is paid by the Israeli taxpayers, yet he traveled abroad representing not only a foreign entity – but one Israel defines as hostile and one that aims to discredit Israel in international forums.


The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel filed a complaint against Hadash's chairman with the Knesset's Ethics Committee, demanding an investigation into the matter.


"This is a problematic issue," a Knesset source privy to the grievance's details told Ynet. "This is not an Israeli MK and while he's supposed to represents his constituents, he cannot represent the Palestinian Authority."


The source further explained that according to Knesset protocols, overseas trips, lectures MKs are invited to and any meetings with foreign diplomats are usually handled by the Foreign Ministry, which makes the fact that Barakeh failed to update anyone on the matter "even more strange."


A statement by MK Barakeh said: "The fact that the Foreign Ministry is hunting Lieberman's political rivals is very serious. Both the state comptroller and the attorney general should investigate the ministry's abnormal conduct.


"I represent a platform which got me elected – not the government," he added. "When I accept an official invitation I coordinate it with the Ethics Committee. I'm under no obligation to do that when it comes to private trips - those are done at my expense. This was the case in my meetings in Poland, including with officials from the Polish Foreign Ministry."



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