Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid has had a change of heart with regard to implementing the MK Removal Law to MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List), who is suspected of smuggling in cellular devices to jailed Hamas terrorists, enabling them to continue their activities from behind bars.
Two weeks ago Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) called on MKs to sign his initiative for the law to be implemented in the case of Ghattas. Elkin would need the signatures of 70 MKs in order for the move to go through. Lapid refused to sign, however, saying at the time “that would be an idiotic procedure.”
But on Monday, according to the Walla! Hebrew-language news website, Yesh Atid said it would be willing to back the initiative, if Ghattas is indicted.
"If an indictment is filed against MK Ghattas, Yesh Atid law will support the Removal Law," said a statement from the party. The statement further claimed that Yesh Atid has expressed this position in the past, contradicting Lapid’s refusal to sign Elkin’s initiative just last week.
Yesh Atid’s statement came hours after the Knesset Ethics Committee approved a measure banning Ghattas from entering the Knesset building for the next six months as police continue their investigation.
While Ghattas initially denied the claims, he later confessed to aiding the prisoners, but insisted the content of the messages transmitted was not terror related. Israeli police have rejected this claim in statements to the press.
Despite being barred from entering the Knesset building, Ghattas retains his status as an MK, though he surrendered his parliamentary immunity. Ghattas continues to receive a salary and other stipends provided to MKs.