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Bahraini MP Won't be Punished for Burning Israeli Flag

A member of Bahrain's parliament will not face punishment after he burned an Israeli flag inside the parliament chamber
By David Lev
First Publish: 12/2/2012, 9:19 AM

Israeli flags
Israeli flags
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A member of Bahrain's parliament will not face punishment after he burned an Israeli flag inside the parliament chamber – although he has been warned not to do it again. Osama al-Tamimi, the parliament's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman, burned the flag several weeks ago as the Bahraini parliament discussed Operation Pillar of Defense. The act caused the parliament building to be cleared, as firefighters rushed to prevent the breakout of a blaze from the kerosene-soaked flag al-Tamimi held as it burned.

Parliament officials sought to punish al-Tamimi, but disciplinary action can be imposed only if a majority of parliamentarians vote to impose it, and a majority, apparently approving of the action, voted against punishing him. The speaker of Bahrain's parliament, Khalifa Al Dhahrani, called for a punishment to be imposed, because al-Tamimi's “grandstanding” had endangered parliamentarians.

After he burned the flag, an argument broke out in the parliament over al-Tamimi's act. Al Dhaharani slammed the MP, saying that the act “was an unprecedented move in the history of this parliament and from what I know in the history of parliaments across the world,” and that it was worthy of a criminal investigation. Al-Tamimi has been censured by parliament in the past, for punching another MP with whom he had a disagreement last year.