Knesset to Debate Lifting Arab Lawmakers' Immunity
A Knesset committee will convene Tuesday to decide whether to lift the parliamentary immunity of Arab-Israeli MK Azmi Bishara, who faces charges of supporting a “terrorist organization,” reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein has filed two separate indictments against Bishara.
The first is for remarks made by Bishara on two separate occasions - at a rally in Umm Al Fahm last June, and at a memorial ceremony for Syrian President Hafez Assad in Damascus this summer - praising the Lebanese Hizbollah movement and encouraging others, “especially the Palestinians, to emulate its military attacks on Israel.”
The draft indictment charges Bishara with allegedly “praising violence and supporting a terrorist organization,” in violation of the Prevention of Terror Ordinance.
The second indictment is for organizing illegal trips to Syria for Arab Israelis.
Though Bishara can travel to Syria legally due to his diplomatic passport, the paper said that it was against the law for ordinary citizens to visit a country with which Israel is at war without a special permit.
Bishara, despite arguing that the visits were for a legitimate humanitarian purpose (allowing Israeli Arab's to visit Syrian relatives), never attempted to obtain permits for the trips.
"Both indictments pose a large question mark over Israel's pretensions to democracy," Bishara said at the time Rubinstein made his decision.
"If the first indictment [for incitement] comes to court, the discussion will have to revolve around the nature of the occupation and the right to resist occupation. And only heartless bureaucrats could have drafted the second indictment, in which they want to put me on trial for a humanitarian act of the highest degree,” he added – Albawaba.com
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