MK Ghattas announces plea deal, rejects accusations of risking Israel's security

The Joint Arab List MK continued to defend his actions during a Friday press conference, in which he officially announced his decision to accept a plea bargain offering a two-year jail term and resignation from the parliament.
Screen capture: Channel 2 News

Israeli-Arab MK Basel Ghattas, who is accused of smuggling phones to terror convicts in an Israeli prison, convened a press conference Friday just hours after Channel 2 News reported on his plea bargain with the State Attorney's Office, and explained his decision to agree to quit the Knesset and serve a two-year jail sentence.

MK Ghattas began his statement by saying he has been under "a vicious incitement campaign which included the spreading of lies by police in order to create the impression that I committed serious security-related felonies." He added that the media also had a role in fanning the flames against him.

"The government then crossed a series of red lines, only because I'm an Arab MK," he continued. "Never before had an MK been stripped of his immunity by the use of threats. On top of that, I was arrested for five days without being questioned."

Ghattas claimed the Attorney General tried to deny him the right to a fair hearing procedure and that the only way to block the move was by petitioning the Supreme Court.

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MKs Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka Photo credit: David Vaknin, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

"I said from the very beginning that my actions were personal and nonpartisan, and that they were done out of moral and humanitarian reasons, without any security-related motives," Ghattas said. "I've been publicly and politically active for 45 years, which I dedicated to fighting for the rights of my people and homeland, and against theft, racism and occupation."

The resigning MK added that his decision to sneak the phones into the prison was made out of his objection to the "inhumane jailing conditions" of security prisoners.

"After consulting with my advisors, I have decided to accept the deal that offered a two-year sentence and my resignation from the Knesset," Ghattas concluded. He is expected to turn in his resignation on Sunday.



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