After being detained for allegedly smuggling cellular phones to security prisoners and being released earlier Tuesday, MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) returned his home to the northern Arab town of Rameh to be welcomed with cheers and candy.
He was visited by dozens of family members, friends and activists from Balad—Ghattas' own faction within the Joint List—who celebrated Ghattas' release with songs and sweets.
"Extending my arrest the day before yesterday was unnecessary," Ghattas said. "If the police had a minimal amount of decency, they would have released me, since all the investigative activities had been over before Christmas Eve. But of course vengence and the need to create drama—as if there is a security case here with an Arab MK aiding terrorism— overcame common sense among police chiefs."
"I want to congratulate everyone with a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year," added Ghattas, who is a Christian Arab. "I thank my people for ... noticing this is a targeted, political assassination of an Arab MK."
Describing his time in jail, Ghattas said, "I was in jail for five days. It wasn't a disaster or the end of the world—not even for an Arab MK. I want to once again declare that I have not committed any security offense or anything that comes close to it, nor have I committed something that constitutes a public security risk. I gave my version to the police, a version that I have insisted on and that I will continue to insist on."
"Everything I've done and will continue to do for the prisoners comes from a humane, moral and conscientious perspective," said Ghattas. "The same goes for what I did that day (in which he was documented handing a phone to terrorist Walid Daka)."
He went on to insist that the police has "nothing about me bringing in phones or other communications equipment, or regarding me jeopardizing national security."