Balad Chairman Azmi Bishara's Resignation From Knesset Takes Effect

Required 48-hour period passes since reception of letter of resignation by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.

Balad Chairman Azmi Bishara's resignation from the Knesset came into effect on Tuesday, 48 hours after his letter of resignation reached the office of Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.

Bishara, who is currently abroad, resigned from the Knesset on Sunday. The Arab MK is currently the subject of an ongoing investigation, although a court-issued gag order prevents publishing the details of the investigation.

On Sunday, police had agreed to partially lift the gag order, but the court hearing on the matter was delayed until Wednesday due to the Israeli Arab party's objections.

Also Sunday, the Justice Ministry barred entry to Bishara's Knesset office, hours after he submitted his resignation from parliament at Israel's embassy in Cairo.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera following the resignation, Bishara said he was aware that the step would end his parliamentary immunity and that his status would be that of a regular citizen, such that Israel could arrest him or demand his extradition.

He added that he has "no intention of hiding."

On Monday, Bishara met with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud during the UN-sponsored sixth International Conference on New or Restored Democracies in Doha, Qatar.

The Lebanese newspaper "Al Liwaa" reported that the two discussed the circumstances that brought Bishara to resign from the Knesset.

A hearing will be held on Wednesday in Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court regarding the gag order on the investigation. Ha'aretz, through attorney Paz Mozer, and other media outlets, along with MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad), are expected to ask to remove the gag order, while the police are expected to ask to lengthen the order.

Bishara, who left Israel about a month ago, added that he has no intention of being far from his homeland.

"I will no doubt return, but I will choose the timing of my return by myself," he said. "This depends on many factors, including consultations with my friends in Israel and in the Arab world."

Bishara said he would not allow Israeli security officials to "decide the rules of the game for him," and that he wanted to set the rules himself.