Prime Minister Netanyahu threw his weight Monday behind an effort spearheaded by Jerusalem Affairs and Environment Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin to impeach Joint List MK Basel Ghattas.
“The accusations against MK Basel Ghattas demand a thorough investigation,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “If the accusations turn out to be true, we are talking about an extremely setious crime against the security of this country and against the personal safety of its citizens. Anyone who harms the security of the State of Israel should be severely punished, and anyone who identifies with people who want to destroy the State of Israel has no place in the Israeli parliament.
“Minister Ze’ev Elkin has started acting to this end and has started gathering signatures from Knesset members. Of course, I will sign [Elkin’s initiative],” the prime minister said.
If anything, Netanyahu’s comment appeared mild compared to his Likud Party colleague, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Avi Dichter, who minced no words.
“MK Ghattas has committed himself not only to hatred of Israel, but also to acting against [the state]. In order to protect his activities [from prosecution], he got himself elected to the Knesset as a member of Balad, which is an acronym for the phrase ‘National Democratic Alliance.’ This is a whitewashed name for a party that wears a badge emblazoned with the words ‘traitors in every way’.
“He should follow Bishara’s example and get out of here,” Dichter said.
Bishara, the founder of Ghattas’ Balad faction, fled Israel in 2007 after being accused of passing information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War a year earlier.
The storm follows an announcement yesterday by Israel Police that an investigation has been opened into allegations that Ghattas used his parliamentary immunity to visit Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails without having his bags searched, and took advantage of the situation to provide the prisoners with mobile phones.
Ghattas said he is innocent and said he believes the investigation is nothing more than a “political witch hunt.” But he also said he would has nothing to hide and said he would appear for questioning when he receives the police summons.
“Go! Go, to the country that you are really serving! Go and connect with your cousin, Azmi. Free us from your presence here – in Israel, and in general! You were, and remain a traitor!” Dichter said.