Ofer Cassif
Ofer CassifYonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Knesset Committee on Tuesday morning held a hearing on the request to impeach MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash).

During the discussion, MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) sparred with MKs from the Arab parties, pushing back against claims that Cassif had made his statements only due to a desire to end the war.

"You cannot say that Cassif only wanted to stop the war - he accused Israel of genocide," Forer told them.

A representative for Israel's Attorney General said that according to the legal adviser, Cassif should not be impeached. According to her, Cassif's attitude and actions do not provide a basis for removing a sitting MK from his position. "Revulsion from his actions and condemnation are one thing, putting together a legal position to impeach a sitting MK is another," she said.

"Removing a sitting MK is an action which severely harms the right to vote and be voted in, the personal rights of an MK, and the political right of expression. It should only be done according to law and based on proven evidence."

She claimed that removing Cassif for signing the petition accusing Israel of genocide would be "unprecedented and dangerous," and would "harm Israel's democracy and resilience."

MK Hanoch Milwidsky (Likud) said, "It is an embarrassment that this is the position of the AG. If he had a kippah and tzitzit, he would have been sitting in the basements a long time ago."

MK Moshe Saada (Likud) slammed Cassif, saying, "He does not support terror - he perpetrates terror. We expect that indictments will be filed against him for the blood libel. People will be harmed as a result of this blood libel."

His words, however, were interrupted time and again by MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta'al).

Forer began the process to impeach Cassif earlier this month, after Cassif signed a petition supporting South Africa's lawsuit against Israel. the committee achieves a majority of 75% of the members for the impeachment of Cassif – it will be forwarded to the Knesset plenum for approval – where a majority of 90 members of Knesset will be required to make Cassif the first MK ever to be impeached through such a procedure.

Thus far, over 85 MKs have signed the proposal to impeach Cassif.

Before the election in April of 2019, the Central Elections Committee decided to disqualify Cassif from running, but the Supreme Court overturned that decision.