Israeli-Arab Lawmaker Who Admitted Smuggling Phones to Prisoners Quits Knesset

Basel Ghattas will serve two years in prison and be convicted of providing material support for terror, in accordance to plea deal.

Basel Ghattas after being questioned by the police, December 2016.
Nir Keidar

Basel Ghattas, a Knesset member representing the mainly Arab Joint List party, tendered his resignation from the Israeli legislature on Sunday.

Ghattas, who will admit to smuggling cellphones to Palestinian security prisoners in a plea bargain that also includes a two-year prison sentence, submitted a letter of resignation to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

"For me, the Knesset is another arena for the struggle on behalf of the rights of the people of my nation, not only a place of work," Ghattas said, adding, "There will be other places where I can fight for them."

Sources in the Knesset who were speaking on condition of anonymity said that Ghattas and Edelstein did not shake hands. They described the brief meeting as "correct and chilly," and said that when it was completed the Knesset speaker said it was a pity that Ghattas did not resign two months ago.

Ghattas' resignation takes effect 48 hours after its submission, Tuesday morning at 11 A.M. He will be replaced in the Knesset by Juma Azbargh.