Bishara Calls Himself Palestinian, Not Israeli, Patriot
Arab-Israeli MK Azmi Bishara announced Sunday that he is “not an Israeli, but a Palestinian patriot, and I cannot regard Syria as an enemy state.”
Bishara’s statement came at a press conference upon his arrival to Israel from Syria, where an address he delivered will be used as a basis for a case file against him by the Israeli state prosecution, reported Haaretz.
The MK was presented with a court order when he arrived in Israel Monday at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge. It summoned him to appear on Wednesday at the international crimes investigation unit in Petah Tikva to answer questions about his visit to Syria.
At the press conference held in Nazareth, Bishara said he would ignore the summons because "the scheduling does not suit me." If Bishara does not show up in Petah Tikva, the police will have to seek the involvement of Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein to have Bishara's parliamentary immunity revoked, said Haaretz.
Bishara returned from nine days in Syria, where he attended a memorial for the anniversary of the death of Syrian President Hafez Assad. During his stay in Damascus, Bishara addressed Arab leaders known for their opposition to Israel and the peace process with the Palestinians, and called on the Arabs to unite in their "resistance" to Israel.
Bishara's comments outraged Israeli MKs, and Rubinstein ordered a police investigation against the Arab-Israeli leader. The police intend to interrogate Bishara on suspicion of making contact with foreign agents, harming the security of Israel, and violations related to a failure to prevent terrorist actions.
During the press conference, Bishara sharply charged the "collaboration of journalists and the media in an incitement campaign against me and my party." Bishara said his speech in Damascus was distorted deliberately by journalists and politicians to serve their own interests.
"What happened is a very ugly thing and I do not retract my statements," he said.
Bishara described his visit to Syria as very successful and insisted that nothing of what he said in Damascus was any worse than statements he has already uttered in Israel, said Haaretz report – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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