MK Sami Abou Shahadeh and Balad delegation presenting Saffouri with plaque
MK Sami Abou Shahadeh and Balad delegation presenting Saffouri with plaqueBalad Facebook page, via Im Tirtzu

The head of the Israel Police Investigations and Intelligence Division, Yigal Ben Shalom, is involved in an investigation of Joint List MK Sami Abou Shahadeh who allegedly violated Israel's Counter-Terrorism Law, Channel 20 reported on Monday.

The investigation began in August 2020 after MK Shahadeh, who heads the Joint List's Balad faction, participated in an event celebrating the release of convicted terrorist Anis Saffouri, who was sentenced in 2009 to 14 years in prison for conspiring to murder Israeli air force pilots, scientists and IDF soldiers.

Upon his release from prison, Saffouri was welcomed by a mass reception in the Israeli-Arab city of Shfaram, including a special delegation from the Balad party headed by MK Abou Shahadeh, Balad Secretary General Mustafa Taha, and former Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka. Members of the Balad delegation spoke at the event and presented Saffouri with an honorary plaque.

Photos from the event can still be seen on Balad's official Facebook page.

Following the event, the Arab Desk of the Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu filed a police complaint alleging that Shahadeh violated section 24 of Israel's 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law that criminalizes voicing praise and support for terrorism.

On Monday, Channel 20 publicized a phone conversation between Im Tirtzu Policy Director Alon Schvartzer and a police investigator from the Shfaram police station who requested that Schvartzer come in to testify against Shahadeh.

During the conversation, the police investigator, who identified himself as Khaladin, said that his commanding officer needed to reply to the head of the Investigations and Intelligence Division about the case.

"I understood from [my officer] that he wants to reply to the head of the Investigations and Intelligence Division, so if you can come today [to testify] I would be very happy," Khaladin told Im Tirtzu's Alon Schvartzer.

In response to the phone call, Im Tirtzu applauded the police for its investigation of Shahadeh and called for an indictment to be filed against him as quickly as possible."

"The fact that there is a political party in Israel with such a long history of hostility and subversion against the country – including an MK who was accused of spying for Hezbollah – needs to shock every single citizen," Im Tirtzu said.

In response to the report, the police said: "We do not provide details on the existence or non-existence of investigations, and this does not confirm or deny their existence. Reports on this matter are under the responsibility of those who publicized them."