Israeli Attorney General to Launch Probe of Arab MK
Israel’s Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein decided Tuesday evening to launch a criminal investigation into Arab Israeli MK Azmi Bishara's visit to Syria this week and the anti-Israel comments he made there, reported Haaretz newspaper.
Rubinstein ordered the police to investigate Bishara on suspicion of breaching the penal code and the anti-terrorism act by making inflammatory statements.
Bishara will be questioned by police when he returns to Israel, most probably toward the weekend, on charges of incitement, treason and contact with a foreign agent, the paper said.
There are, however, a number of problems with investigating Bishara for incitement against the state, as Rubinstein heard from a number of legal experts, including State Prosecutor Edna Arbel, said the paper.
One of the greatest problems is that, following a High Court of Justice ruling, it is no longer possible to indict an individual for incitement.
Rubinstein's decision pleased members of the Knesset House Committee and the Ethics Committee, who held a joint meeting where they blasted Bishara for calling on Arab countries to promote "resistance" against Israel, and for praising Hizbollah activity against Israel in southern Lebanon.
According to the paper, the majority of the committees' members were in favor of indicting Bishara, with most calling him a "traitor" and a "criminal."
A furious MK, Michael Kleiner, declared that "in any normal country, he would be placed in front of a firing squad."
Kleiner, a right-wing MK, believes Bishara should be tried for treason and incitement against the state - crimes which he feels should carry the punishment of death, the paper quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Eli Yishai is said to be considering revoking Bishara's Israeli citizenship.
When interviewed by reporters in Syria on Monday, Bishara was asked if he is worried about returning to Israel and having his citizenship revoked.
His reply was: "I will return to my birthplace and homeland. They [the State of Israel] forced Israeli citizenship upon us; we did not ask for it."
Bishara's spokesman said he will return from Syria on the weekend, after meeting with a number of senior Syrian government officials. Upon his return, he is expected to hold a news conference, most likely in Nazareth, and to address the charges and criticism leveled against him for his remarks in Syria– Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)