Israeli Police Grill Arab MP over Pro-Hizbollah Remarks
Israeli police on Thursday questioned an Arab Israeli MP who once stood for prime minister over remarks he once made in support of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim Hizbollah guerrilla movement.
Police said they would decide in a few days whether to prosecute Azmi Bishara, a member of the Balad party, over comments made ahead of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May after 22 years of occupation.
Attorney General Eliyakim Rubinstein in June opened an investigation against Bishara for "incitement to violence and support of a terrorist group."
Bishara, who became an MP in the May 1999 elections and was at one stage a candidate for prime minister, said Hizbollah had "become, thanks to its strength and its sacrifices, a symbol in the modern Arab world because of its struggle against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon."
Hizbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, led the armed campaign to oust Israeli troops from south Lebanon.
Bishara has condemned the police probe as a political ploy reminiscent of the military government in the 1950s which limited the political action of the Arab population and its leaders.
At least two other Israeli Arab MPs have also spoken out in favor of Hizbollah, but no measures have been taken against them.
One of them, Taleb al-Sanaa, called for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah for forcing an end to the Israeli occupation.
There are 10 MPs from Arab parties in Israel, which has an Arab community of around one million people -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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