Balad MK Basel Ghattas.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court extended the remand of Joint List MK Basel Ghattas by four days on Friday as police continue investigating him for giving cellular phones to security prisoners he visited in jail.
Police told the Court that there is firm basis to the concerns that releasing Ghattas would endanger the public and obstruct the investigation. He is suspected of smuggling cell phones, SIM cards and documents to two prisoners convicted of terrorism offenses.
Ghattas visited Ketziot Prison, some 70 km. southwest of Beersheba, on December 18, where he met with Walid Daka, who is serving a life sentence for torturing and murdering 19-year-old soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984, and with Bassel Basra, who is serving a 15-year sentence for security offenses. Both men are Fatah members.
Thursday, Ghattas gave up on his immunity from search and arrest, which was formally announced by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
On Friday, the head of the Knesset Guard decided to forbid entrance to Ghattas's office in the Knesset, including to the MK's staff and the parliament's cleaning staff, out of fear of obstructing the investigation.
In an interview with Channel 2, Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh called what Ghattas is alleged to have done "painful" and "harmful to Israeli Arabs."
A Statnet poll of Israeli Arabs taken for the Makor Rishon newspaper found that 46 percent of them want the Joint List to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and 41% oppose such a step. The poll was taken among 253 respondents representing a statistic sample of the Israeli Arab population.
The poll found that the most populat politicians among Israeli Arabs are Joint List MKs Ahmad Tibi and Odeh, followed by Health Minister Ya'akov Litzman (United Torah Judaism). The least popular politicians among Israeli Arabs were Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, followed by Netanyahu, and Culture Minister Miri Regev.