I use the word “traitors” very carefully because of the terrible implications and potential consequences. As I wrote in a similar post back in 2012:
One has to be very careful about accusing others of dual loyalty since that is a favourite demonizing tool used by anti-Semites against the Jews in other countries, but it is very hard to avoid such an accusation against some of the Arab MKs who sit in our Knesset and apparently consort with Israel’s most sworn and murderous enemies, the Hamas terrorist group.
Again, I want to stress that I do not use this word for people who have different political opinions to me, even those, like the Left, whose politics I consider dangerous for our country. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’m sure there are those who consider my own opinions as dangerous.
But I do use this term for people who give aid, succour and support to terrorists. One such person is Hanin Zoabi who, as I mentioned above, participated in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, and has continued to support Hamas in various forms.
And this week another MK earned this dubious title, as Arab Joint List MK Basel Ghattas was accused of smuggling phones to jailed Hamas terrorists in Israeli jails:
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has authorized police to question Ghattas under caution for alleged security breaches. The MK is suspected of smuggling cell phones to the prisoners at Ketziot Prison, south of Beersheba in southern Israel.
Police told Channel 2 that they believe Ghattas may have also, on at least one occasion, smuggled in SIM cards for the prisoners, hidden in a hollowed-out book.
Israel police have summoned MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) for questioning on suspicion of involvement in security offenses.
According to the report by Channel 2, the investigation was triggered by information received by the Prison Service’s intelligence unit about visits Ghattas made to prisoners in Israeli jails. A member of the Balad party is also under investigation.
“It is clear that the police are intent on continuing the persecution of political leaders and Balad members.” Ghattas said. “This conduct indicates a policy of political vindictiveness which did not scare us in the past and does not frighten us now.”
Ghattas’ absurd accusation against the police should be regarded as a form of incitement on its own. The Im Tirtzu organization replied:
“MKs from the Joint List continue to act as if they think they are above the law. Ghattas continues the glorious tradition of Balad members to accept a salary from the State of Israel while at the same time working against the state. It is time to hold them accountable before they cause even greater damage.”
It’s also not the first time Ghattas has been involved in anti-Israel activity. He praised terrorists who were killed by Israeli forces as “martyrs”. He got off unscathed despite demands to censure or otherwise punish him and Hanin Zoabi.
The implications of Ghattas’ offence are terrifying:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke out about the allegations Sunday evening, saying that if true, the case represented a major security breach for Israel.
“If the suspicions against MK Ghattas are proven true, then it amounts to a very serious threat to Israeli security and civilians. Anyone who harms the state’s security needs to be punished severely, and must not be allowed to serve in the Israeli Knesset.”
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) called the suspicions against Ghattas extremely serious, adding that were he not a sitting Knesset Member, he would likely have been already been arrested.
Erdan made another very important point, which seems to be accepted as the norm, whereas it should be roundly, loudly and thoroughly condemned by all parties:
Erdan also said the case highlighted the dangers of allowing MKs to visit jailed terrorists.
Why on earth are sitting MKs visiting jailed terrorists? These are not “merely” suspects. These are extremely dangerous people who stood trial and were convicted for the most heinous of crimes, including murder, and plotting to murder. For example:
One of the prisoners that Ghattas is alleged to have met with is Walid Daka, who was sentenced to 37 years for the 1984 abduction and murder of 19-year-old IDF soldier Moshe Tamam.
Tamam’s mother, Gila, said on Monday that “any lawmaker who helps those who killed my son has blood on his hands.” She said that nobody can bring her son back, but all efforts must be made to prevent further terror attacks.
Ghattas was condemned across the board at the Knesset:
President Reuven Rivlin said on Monday that if allegations that Balad MK Basel Ghattas smuggled phones to inmates in Israeli prison are proven true, he should be stripped of parliamentary immunity and punished severely.
But despite the brouhaha, Ghattas is nowhere to be found:
A spokesperson for Basel Ghattas, the Joint (Arab) List MK suspected of smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, denied reports the lawmaker had gone underground in an effort to avoid police questioning over the affair.
But by Monday evening, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Lahav 433 National Crime Unit had been unable to get hold of Ghattas all day.
“He has apparently gone underground, he and his assistant have turned off their phones,” Erdan told Channel 2.
The channel confirmed that Ghattas’s phone was either busy or disconnected when they tried to call.
An attempt by The Times of Israel to reach Ghattas spokesman Tareq Khateeb went straight to voicemail.
While police are usually able to locate suspects by tracking their phones, Ghattas’s immunity as a Knesset member prevented them from such action.
Erdan noted that, while Ghattas could simply be huddling with legal advisers before contacting police to set up his questioning, “the facts are that police have been unable to reach him or his assistants since the morning.”
The minister warned that should Ghattas continue to avoid law enforcement officials, “all police capabilities to locate [wanted persons] will be used.”
It should be noted that another Balad MK, Azmi Bishara, fled to Lebanon or points east after being accused of assisting Hezbollah:
The founder of Ghattas’s Balad political party fled Israel in 2007, after suspicions surfaced that he may have passed sensitive information to Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
These Arab MKs are tainting the reputation of their entire community and ruining efforts at coexistence. If they wish to represent their community, sit in the government of the Jewish state of Israel and be paid by them, then there are certain basic rules they have to abide by.
The most important of those would be “do not betray your country”.