Knesset Ethics Committee to Probe Arab Lawmakers' Trip to Qatar

Knesset Members Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka travelled to Qatar without securing the committee's approval, and are refusing to say who funded the trip.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
MK Haneen Zoabi has been assigned a security guard following a wave of threats after she criticized Israel's reaction to trhe kidnapping in Gush Etzion.
MK Haneen Zoabi has been assigned a security guard following a wave of threats after she criticized Israel's reaction to trhe kidnapping in Gush Etzion.Credit: Tomer Noiberg

The Knesset Ethics Committee will convene within the next few days to discuss the trip to Qatar last week by three Balad Knesset members and how it was funded.

The lawmakers, Basel Ghattas, Jamal Zahalka and Haneen Zoabi ostensibly violated Knesset rules because they did not get permission from the committee to make the trip, nor did they report who had funded it.

The three are refusing to divulge who paid for the trip. Balad faction chairman Zahalka said ethics committee approval was not sought “for technical reasons,” and that he plans to get retroactive approval from the committee in the coming days.

During their trip, the three met with former Balad chairman Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel in 2007 during a police investigation of allegations that he had spied on behalf of Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page Monday, “The trip by members of Balad, the party that was founded and led by Azmi Bishara, who was accused of serious espionage and fled Israel, proves decisively once again to those who are still skeptical that there is no place for them in the Israeli Knesset.”

MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) was also critical of the three, saying, “Operation Protective Edge has not yet ended, quiet has yet to be restored in the south, Gaza residents are trying to rehabilitate the destruction that Hamas brought down on them, and instead of remaining in the country to assist, the members of the Balad party choose to fly to Qatar, a country that funnels money to a well-oiled terror machine, and meet with traitor Azmi Bishara.

“At the start of the [military] operation I contacted the attorney general and the Knesset speaker with a request to examine the relationship between the Balad Party, Qatar, and Azmi Bishara. There’s no doubt that the connection is proven and I call to examine immediately whether that’s not sufficient grounds to rescind their immunity and make [their party] illegal immediately. Zoabi, Zahalka, and Ghattas are exploiting their Israeli immunity while actually enjoying Qatari immunity.”

Balad issued a statement condemning “the unbridled incitement by MKs and ministers against the members who went to Qatar. The trip was totally legal, and all the requests for the attorney general to open an investigation are a cheap trick by right-wing MKs and ministers to grab headlines.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott