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Second Arab MK Charged Over Terror Ties

Saeed Nafaa secretly met with PFLP officials while on a trip to Damascus as Knesset member; second Balad party member charged.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/6/2014, 5:16 PM

Said Nafaa
Said Nafaa
Knesset photo

Former Knesset Member for Balad, Saeed Nafaa, has been convicted of visiting an enemy country and meeting a foreign agent, when he met a top official from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) while on a visit to Syria in 2007.

The MK – who promotes a combined Arab-Druze anti-Israeli identity among his fellow Druze – led a delegation of Druze priests from Israel to Syria, despite security officials' decision not to approve the visit for security reasons.

Nafaa stayed in Damascus for a week and met, among others, the Deputy Secretary-General of the PFLP, Talal Naji, who allegedly also arranged for him to meet with Hamas kingpin Khaled Mashaal. The meeting with Mashaal did not take place and Nafaa was acquitted of a third charge, which related to his alleged participation in the attempts to set up that meeting.

The Knesset's House Committee decided to remove his parliamentary immunity in 2011. Nafaa called that decision political and claimed that he had never meant to harm the security of the state of Israel – and had not, in fact, harmed it.

Sixteen other Israeli citizens were charged with regard to that trip to Syria.

The decision Sunday by three judges in Nazareth – Avraham Arbel, Binyamin Arbel and Esther Helman – noted that Nafaa did, in fact, harm the security of Israel by meeting a terror official, and that the fact that the meeting was carried out secretly makes that damage more serious.

Nafaa is the second Balad MK to commit treasonous pro-terror acts. Balad founder Azmi Bishara fled Israel in 2007 after the Shin Bet began questioning him over his phone conversations with Hezbollah officials during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. 

Bishara is still wanted for questioning in Israel for transmitting information to Hezbollah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, helping them more accurately target Israeli citizens in their missile war against northern Israel. Until the 2011 passing of the "Bishara Law," the former MK was still receiving full pension from Israel, getting a total of 500,000 shekels (roughly $143,000).

A petition was also filed against MK Hanin Zoabi of Balad for her participation in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla which sought to break the IDF's legal blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and ended up with terrorists on the ships attacking IDF soldiers with handguns, iron bars and knives. The Supreme Court ruled last December Zoabi won't be tried for her involvement in the attack on Israel.