MKs boycott Ethics C'tee over flotilla probe

Aryeh Eldad, Tzipi Hotovely, Rachel Adato protest fact that complaints filed against MKs related to Free Gaza Flotilla still not discussed.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
November 22, 2010 20:27
2 minute read.
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Hotovely 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

MKs Arye Eldad (National Union), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Rachel Adatto (Kadima) boycotted Monday’s closed-door meeting of the Knesset Ethics Committee, protesting that the committee had yet to discuss complaints filed against MKs regarding the Free Gaza Flotilla.

Although some of the complaints were received almost six months ago, Ethics Committee Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) has yet to schedule a hearing on alleged ethical violations by MKs such as Balad’s Haneen Zoabi, who participated in the flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara.

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According to Yacimovich, complaints related to the flotilla have been submitted against 11 MKs on both the Left and the Right.

Eldad and Hotovely warned Monday that they would not participate in any of the watchdog committee’s sessions until a hearing was held on the complaints.

“Chairwoman Yacimovich runs the committee in an unethical manner and, in doing so, harms the Knesset’s status,” complained Eldad and Hotovely.

Since the May 30 boarding of the flotilla, the committee has received 36 complaints, filed by MKs, NGOs and members of the general public.

“The complaints have been stuck in deep-freeze, under the excuse that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein is currently probing the topic,” the two MKs said.

They asserted that this answer was an “insult to intelligence,” arguing that there was no connection between the criminal investigation and the ethical debate that surround the issue.

The Ethics Committee complaints, Eldad said, involve alleged violations of the Knesset code, as well as of the ethical guidelines for MKs, and not alleged violations of criminal statutes. In light of that distinction, charged the MKs, “the fact that the Ethics Committee chairwoman has avoided the hearing for months now stems from political considerations which have no place in the Ethics Committee.”

Yacimovich responded that “the Ethics Committee will continue to be run cleanly, and devoid of all political pressure – and I will not allow it to be used for political gain by its members and to be turned into a show trial.”

She added that “the usual practice, that topics are not discussed in the committee while the state comptroller or the attorney-general are probing them, will be meticulously maintained, and will not be changed due to political complaints.”

All of the complaints, she said, would be discussed together after the attorney-general concluded his probe.


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