Basel Ghattas
Basel GhattasHadas Parush/Flash 90

The Knesset Committee, headed by MK Yoav Kish, approved Wednesday the request of the Attorney General to remove MK Basel Ghattas's immunity, facilitating his arrest on charges of smuggling cellular phones to security prisoners. The committee's decision will be brought to Knesset vote on Thursday, after which police will be able to make a search and arrest MK Ghattas in order to continue with the investigation.

MK Ghattas did not take part in the meeting and claimed that it was a "political discussion whose outcome was known from the outset."

Kish opened the discussion by saying that "At the end of this vote every MK will know that his immunity cannot be used as a weapon to harm Israeli democracy."

Kish said that "Ghattas made an attack on Arab-Jewish relations, embarrassed the Knesset and belittled the immunity of Knesset members which is a significant aspect of Israeli democracy. I call on the Joint Arab List to expel MK Ghattas and to establish clear ethical guidelines.

MK Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home) said that "The Balad faction (of the Joint Arab List) time after time betray their voters and the State of Israel. Ghattas is not just a traitor, he is a liar. The immunity of the entire Balad faction must be revoked."

MK Amir Ohana(Likud) said that "There has never been a clearer case requiring revocation of immunity. MK Ghattas has proved with his actions described here, his words and his previous actions that he is not a traitor - he is the enemy. We shouldn't have come to this. Ghattas and his friends Zuabi and Zahalka who support terror in their words and actions ought to have been members of a prison cell, not members of Knesset."

The Attorney General who requested from Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to discuss the revocation of Ghattas's immunity in order to facilitate his arrest wrote that "This unusual request is based on a factual basis which justifies revoking immunity, as it will enable the enforcement authorities to continue to clarify the charges against MK Ghattas and to continue the criminal proceedings against him. Since this is a developing investigation I request to discuss it immediately.

Ghattas admitted Tuesday having smuggled telephones and messages to the security prisoners he visited in jail. These were used to plan terror attacks and instruct terrorists on the logistics of the operations.

Ghattas is accused of complicity in committing a felony, deceptive practices, breach of trust and violation of the Prison Service code.