Elkin presents Edelstein with Ghattas impeachment request
Elkin presents Edelstein with Ghattas impeachment requestKnesset Spokesperson

Efforts to impeach MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List), who is suspected of providing cellular phones to Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons, hit a snag on Tuesday.

On Monday, Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) submitted to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein the 72 signatures from MKs required to apply the MK Removal Law in the case of Ghattas.

However, Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon informed Elkin on Tuesday that his request to impeach Ghattas did not include the reasoning for the request as required by the law, and he would therefore need to resubmit the request.

"Article 8a of the Law stipulates that the application [for impeachment] should be submitted together with ‘the reasons and the material on which it is based,’" Yinon wrote to Elkin. "An examination of the request shows that it was written a month ago, and that the factual basis on which it is based is condensed in the phrase ‘yesterday MK Basel Ghattas was summoned for questioning over the suspicion that he passed information and smuggled items, including cell phones, to security prisoners incarcerated in the Ketziot prison.’”

Yinon continued, "An MK may be impeached on one of two grounds: 'incitement to racism or support for the armed struggle of an enemy state or a terrorist organization against the State of Israel.’ In order to open the procedure, it is not sufficient to use an out of date factual basis as presented in the request.”

Responding to Yinon’s letter, Elkin indicated on Tuesday evening that the request would be resubmitted with updated information.

"Since the majority of the signatures were collected before the indictment [against Ghattas] was submitted, the text of the letter to the Knesset Speaker was based only on the initial material published. In consultation with the Knesset's Legal Advisor it was decided that we would submit an updated request which will include the incriminating video and the material in the indictment draft prepared by the Attorney General, which clearly show that the actions of MK Basel Ghattas certainly constitute aid to a terrorist organization,” said Elkin.

Meanwhile, Ghattas is not only alleged to be implicated in aiding terrorists in Israeli prisons. On Monday he was questioned by police on allegations of forgery, fraud, and money laundering, among other charges.