MKs from the coalition called for actions to be taken against MK Basel Ghattas and his political party due to the serious security offenses he allegedly committed. The Israeli President condemned the crimes he allegedly committed and the Meretz leader called for him to leave the Knesset.

MK Basel Ghattas

MK Basel Ghattas Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

The Knesset House Committee gathered today (Monday) for an emergency meeting less than a day after it was reported that MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) is suspected of smuggling cell phones into an Israeli jail for security prisoners. Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) has contacted his fellow lawmakers about beginning the process to impeach Ghattas and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned the crimes Ghattas allegedly committed. “The accusations that have been made are very serious and if they are proven, the State of Israel will need to respond firmly.”

“The cynical use of the democratic freedoms granted to an MK in order to sabotage the security of Israel is outrageous and shameful,” Rivlin added. “The Israeli democracy knows and will know how to protect and defend itself from those who wish to harm the State of Israel.”

As expected, the Joint Arab List MKs boycotted the House Committee discussion. Committee head MK Yoav Kish (Likud) said in the beginning of the discussion: “A Trojan horse has been exposed. His place is in prison, not in the Knesset.” Ghattas is supposed to present his political party’s vote of no confidence later today and has not yet requested a replacement.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition condemned the crimes Ghattas allegedly committed. “Let it be clear: Basel Ghattas is suspected of very serious crimes and just like [Ha-Bayit Ha-Yehudi MK Nissan] Slomiansky, he needs to go home,” wrote Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On on Twitter. However, Gal-On also criticized the coalition’s conduct in light of the investigation: “While the public demand for an MK to resign is legitimate, in both of the cases, the use of the Impeachment Law is wrong. Elkin and the coalition are using their political power to remove Arabs from the Knesset.”