Palestinian MK Stripped of Immunity to Prosecute Him Unjustly
by Stephen Lendman
Longstanding ruthless Israeli treatment of Palestinians for not being Jews shows why granting them self-determination is vital - freeing them from occupation harshness.
On Wednesday, extremist Knesset members stripped Joint (Arab) List MK Basel Ghattas of parliamentary immunity, breaching Israel's 1951 Members Immunity, Rights and Duties Law, letting them perform their duties without fear of legal actions.
MKs won't face criminal or civil responsibility for any act performed while doing their jobs - unless extremist parliamentarians change the rules to target one of their members irresponsibly.
Ghattas was arrested uncharged on allegations of smuggling cell phones, SIM cards and documents to two political prisoners unjustly accused of terrorism - a common charge, targeting legitimate resistance against Israeli viciousness.
"There is no doubt that this extreme step, its timing and character, match the populist sound waves of House Committee members," said Ghattas.
"It raises heavy suspicions of bias in the Attorney General's judgment while making the decision to submit the request, even though I came forward for questioning and answered all the investigators' questions after I announced clearly that I will cooperate with any legal investigative act necessary at any time."
On December 18, he visited Ketziot prison, met with prisoners Walid Daka and Bassel Basra, denied giving them cell phones and other equipment, explained envelopes he handed them contained political material only.
Palestinian MKs are prime targets for persecution. They're powerless as Knesset members, little more than potted plants in a body dominated by extremist Jewish lawmakers.
Israeli Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit's comments showed what Ghattas is up against, saying "there is a solid and strong basis of evidence against him of committing crimes of bringing equipment into a prison...to harm national security or aid a terrorist organization."
"Immunity does not protect (MKs) if they commit crimes that are not connected to their public mission as an elected, representative MK."
Following harsh detention in police custody for six days, he was judicially sentenced to 10 days under house arrest, pending further disposition of his case.
He's allowed to participate in Knesset votes only if heavily guarded. A statement released on his behalf at the time of his arrest called it "vengeful and arbitrary…because police, Netanyahu and (public security) minister Erdan want a photo of an Arab MK in handcuffs."
"The arrest is a political move and is not necessary to the investigation. Fairness obligates to treat an Arab public representative just like a Jewish one, and that is not the situation here."
According to the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, around 7,000 Palestinians languish under horrific conditions as political prisoners in Israel's gulag.
Included are 720 uncharged and untried administrative detainees, 400 children and 64 women.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
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