Zahava Gal-On - Ofer Vaknin - 16012012
Zahava Gal-On Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) asked the Knesset Ethics Committee on Sunday to convene a special session to discuss the ties between right-wing Knesset members and right-wing activists being investigated by the police in connection to "price tag" incidents and the alleged monitoring of Israel Defense Forces movements in the West Bank.

Gal-On cited several incidents in the past few months involving Knesset members and asked the committee to establish clear guidelines for MKs to follow.

In September, she recalled, a number of right-wing activists who had recently been issued restraining orders banning them from West Bank settlements after allegedly taking part in price tag activities were guests of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

"Knesset members at the session, including the chairman of the committee, praised the activists, impugned the law enforcement system and claimed the accusations [against the activists] were false," Gal-On wrote in her request. "A few days later one of the activists was arrested on suspicion of arson in the Tuba-Zangaria mosque fire," she said.

Gal-On went on to cite the arrest, outside the Knesset, of a right-wing activist who was wanted by the Shin Bet security service; he had been invited to the Knesset to meet with MK Uri Ariel (National Union).

She also mentioned news reports about coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Likud ) giving information to the settler leadership that wound up in the "Price Tag Situation Room," members of which were charged with espionage and conspiring to obstruct IDF activities.

Ariel later said he had passed on information aimed at preventing the IDF from evacuating unauthorized outposts and intended to continue doing so.

Gal-On acknowledged that there was no question of taking legal steps against the MKs as long as the activists remained suspects only, and that in any event the MKs' actions were presumably protected by legislative immunity. "On the other hand, these activities constitute material ethical breaches, and I therefore believe it is appropriate for the Ethics Committee to discuss them and set guidelines," Gal-On said on Sunday.