Israel releases former MK Basel Ghattas, convicted for smuggling phones

Ghattas was incarcerated after he was convicted of smuggling phones to security prisoners in 2017

May 28, 2019 04:08
1 minute read.
MK Basel Ghattas

MK Basel Ghattas. (photo credit: KOKO/POOL ISRAEL HAYOM)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Former Balad MK Basel Ghattas was released from prison on Monday, having served most of a two-year prison sentence for smuggling phones to jailed terrorists.

A party was hosted at a Greek Orthodox church in Ramallah in honor of Ghattas’s release, with former MK Haneen Zoabi in attendance.
Ghattas said he did not regret his actions as he was only trying to help prisoners call their families.

Throughout the 2017 hearings and conviction, Ghattas maintained that his confession to the indictment was only a confession to the act of smuggling the cellphones. He continued to claim that he was smuggling the cellphones for “humanitarian reasons” and not to participate in any actions that could endanger lives.

At the time, the case ratcheted up tension between the Israeli-Arab Balad Party and authorities over whether Ghattas committed a serious security offense, or was being persecuted by law enforcement as part of a crackdown on loud politicians among the country’s Arab minority.

A related indictment against Asad Daka, Ghattas’s handler, said that Daka asked Ghattas to help smuggle items into the prison, relying on the MK’s parliamentary immunity from being searched when visiting prisoners.

Daka met with Ghattas on December 18, 2016, at a gas station on Route 6 and gave over the items to smuggle to his brother Walid Daka and another security prisoner, Basil Bizra, knowing that it would endanger lives and national security.

Ghattas visited Walid Daka, delivering various documents for him to smuggle within the prison. He then met with Bizra and gave him cellphones and SIM cards to smuggle.

Both Walid Daka and Bizra were caught after their meetings with Ghattas during a standard search, which led to the allegations against Ghattas.

Related Content

ULTRA-ORTHODOX Jews gather during a funeral ceremony in Bnei Brak.
June 18, 2019
Bnei Brak Torah scrolls recovered in Palestinian barn


Cookie Settings