MK Bishara Heads for Europe, Maybe India, Amid Rumors of His Resignation

Yesterday MK Azmi Bishara left Jordan for a tour of Europe. Balad sources have stated he will visit Spain and France and participate in international conferences. He will then travel to a conference in Bahrain, and then possibly to India.

The party sources also said his family is scheduled to return to Israel soon, after spending Easter in Jordan with him.

In Jordan, Bishara met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdelelah al-Khatib. The Balad-associated Web site Arabs48 reported the two discussed regional events.

Balad yesterday continued to claim vehemently that the rumors that Bishara is planning not to return to Israel are unfounded.

The party stated that its Knesset representatives will return to their parliamentary routine today.

The Western Galilee village of Tarshiha is following reports closely; the Bishara family is considered large and well-established in the community.

Bishara has always taken pride in his Galilee roots, despite spending most of his time in Nazareth and Jerusalem.

A cousin, Dr. Riyadh Bishara, is a Hadash member of the Ma'alot-Tarshiha city council, and despite their political differences, he has declared the family supports Azmi Bishara.

"There is no doubt Azmi is under a planned attack by the establishment and the defense sector, which has unfortunately succeeded in recruiting supporters in the Arab population."

Shas said yesterday that it is reviewing ways to outlaw Balad. Shas had petitioned the Elections Committee to disqualify Balad before the last elections, but the High Court of Justice approved Balad's list of candidates.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) said yesterday, "I am not familiar with the details of the affair, but no one has undermined the delicate Jewish-Arab relations in Israel more than Bishara, and if he were to decide to leave, it would benefit all of us."

National Religious Party leader Zevulun Orlev yesterday submitted a bill that would revoke the right of anyone who visited an enemy state to run for Knesset.

"Visits to enemy countries encourage terror against Israel," he said.

"The Knesset cannot be a refuge for lawmakers who seek to destroy the state from within."