MKs were asked to sign a petition requesting the removal from Knesset, under the Suspension Law that was passed last summer, of MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List), who is suspected of smuggling 12 cellular phones to convicted terrorists serving out their prison sentences.
The petition was helmed by Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Ze'ev Elkin (Likud).
"The criminal process will take a very long time," said Elkin, referring to the upcoming investigation. "There is no reason that he (Ghattas—ed) should continue to serve in the Knesset all this time, receive a paycheck from the public and take advantage of his immunity and status to support terrorism. Let's put an end to this."
For the Suspension Law to be invoked, 70 MKs must sign the request, and 90 are needed to actually have them removed. "I call on my friends, the MKs, to end this phenomenon of having sitting MKs openly assist and support terrorism," added Elkin.
The Prison Services were tipped off about Ghattas' alleged smuggling and were prepared for him when he came to visit convicted terrorists Walid Daka—one of the terrorists responsible for the kidnapping and murder of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984—and Basel Bazra.
He was stopped on his way out, and the prisoners were searched, upon which it was discovered that they were in possession of 12 cellular phones and several small letters, which may contain secret information from the outside. Ghattas is suspected of supplying them all of these items, by taking exploiting MKs' right not to be searched when visiting prisoners.
Speaking to Ynet, Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information Gilad Erdan supported the removal of Ghattas, if he is indeed found guilty of aiding terrorists. "I'd like to remind everyone that a few months ago, MK Ghattas stood in a moment of silence together with the families of murderers and terrorists from the last wave of terrorism we experienced in Jerusalem," he said.
"He called Shimon Peres a war criminal, he took part in an anti-Israeli flotilla event while identifying with enemy territory in the Gaza strip. This kind of man certainly should not be in the Knesset, but in jail."
"This time," added Erdan. "I think we should act wisely, and use—assuming that the evidence against him will be considered reliable evidence—all the legal tools we have at our disposal. I hope that things will be proven and he will be arrested and eventually tried and put in jail for several years."
In addition to removing Ghattas from the Knesset and stripping him of his immunity as MK, some MKs and even ministers such as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have called for the removal of Ghattas' citizenship.
"That would be a more complex legal matter, which is currently in the hands of the attorney general. That said, of course I would prefer that someone like him would not enjoy the rights of citizenship."
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) joined in, as well. "I call on the attorney general to fully investigate and make sure these Trojan horses will not serve in the Knesset," she said.
Calls to investigate were also heard from the left, with Zionist Union Leader Isaac Herzog saying, "Any harm done to state security, any collaboration with the enemy and any passing of information or trading of state secrets demands an investigation by all available means. If these allegations turn out to be true, it will require punishment without compromise, regardless of religion or ethnicity."
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) also stated that she "has confidence in the security system and the police to investigate the suspicions in the matter of Ghattas without compromise. Any attempt to present such security offenses as representative of the entire Arab population, though, is wrong."
"These are serious allegations," said Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid. "If they turn out to be true, justice will have to be served."
Following the request of MK Ayelt Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union), Knesset Committee Chairperson and MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) has called a special meeting of the committee to discuss Knesset policy regarding MKs visiting security prisoners, and whether a new policy should be implemented, so that they will be body searched.