(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A new bill that would suspend Knesset members who support or identify with terror organizations was given a push forward by the Knesset House Committee Tuesday, sparking outrage among Arab MKs.
The committee decided that it would expedite the legislation proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union-National Religious Party) and have a preliminary reading and vote on the bill as early as next week. With less than three weeks left until the Knesset goes to recess, there are hundreds of bills awaiting a first reading in the plenum.
"During this difficult time, when the IDF is struggling to fight against terror, there are Arab MKs clearly supporting and encouraging terror organizations such as Hamas," said Orlev. "Whoever wants to support these organizations can go join the Palestinian Authority's parliament - now is their chance because the PA is missing a few parliament members right now."
According to the bill, the Knesset House Committee - with the approval of the Supreme Court - could cancel the membership of any MK who "identified" with a terror organization.
Arab MKs expressed outrage at the bill, labeling it a "blatant racist action" by the Knesset.
"This is not rational legislature, it is simply a grab for cheap headlines by right-wing MKs," said MK Azmi Bishara. "It is a severe blow to democracy."
MK Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash) added that the law was designed to "persecute" Arab MKs.
Orlev's bill was proposed following a series of meetings that have taken place between Arab MKs and Hamas parliamentarians since the start of the 17th Knesset.
A Knesset legal aide said that if the Knesset passes the law, there could be grounds to challenge it in the Supreme Court.