Basel Ghattas
Basel GhattasYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Arab MK Basel Ghattas, one of the three MKs from the Joint List party's Balad faction who raised a storm last week by meeting with the families of ten Jerusalem terrorists, has come out with a new statement justifying the terrorist murderers.

Ghattas last Friday termed the terrorists as "martyrs," but speaking on Wednesday to the Arabic-language Israeli TV station Hala TV as translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Thursday, the radical MK took his comments a step further.

According to the member of Israel's Knesset, the murder of Israelis by Arab terrorists is not "criminal," but rather is an act conducted "in the passion of the struggle against the abusive occupation."

"The day that Arab Knesset members abstain from visiting the families of the martyrs who lost their dear children in the passion of the struggle against the abusive occupation - they didn't go to kill or try to kill on a criminal background - on the day we abstain from visiting and meeting the families of martyrs, we will need to clear our places (in the Knesset), leave the keys and go home."

"Ban the terrorists"

Yisrael Beytenu chairperson MK Avigdor Liberman responded to Ghattas's statement Thursday, saying, "the only solution to deal with statements like these of MK Ghattas and his friends is a bill that Yisrael Beytenu submitted. The bill by MK Oded Forer which passed yesterday in an initial reading establishes that a person who incites to terror cannot serve as an MK."

Liberman said the bill "is exactly the solution that will put an end to the insufferable phenomenon of statements like these from the fifth column sitting in the Israeli Knesset."

"I also hope that the Prime Minister will regain composure, stop playing small politics and will not again shoot down the bill that I submitted which rules that the High Court cannot overrule the decisions of the Elections Committee, and thereby make it possible to ban the complete Balad party of terrorists from taking part in the elections and destroying Israeli democracy."

Ghattas's comments legitimizing the murder of his fellow Israeli citizens comes after he was suspended from the Knesset for four months this week, and likewise MK Hanin Zoabi was given four months and MK Jamal Zahalka two months.

However, Liberman on Monday called the suspensions a joke, noting the three will still be able to participate in Knesset votes. He said the Knesset Ethics Committee should have handed them the maximum penalty, a suspension from the Knesset sessions for six months and a denial of wages. Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh had estimated the Balad faction faced being banned.

In the meeting, the three MKs held a minute of silence and said a prayer in honor of the terrorists and comforted their families, who they called "bereaved families."

They promised to secure the return of the bodies of the terrorists - their efforts apparently worked despite widespread outrage over the meeting, as it was reported Monday an agreement has been reached to return the bodies.

Among the families present at the meeting was that of Baha Alian, who together with another accomplice last October conducted a shooting attack on a bus, murdering 78-year-old Haim Habib, 51-year-old Alon Guvberg and 76-year-old Richard Lakin.