Arab MKs visit Libya's Gaddafi

In Israel, calls to prosecute delegation for meeting maverick leader.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
April 26, 2010 08:04
2 minute read.
Arab MKs visit Libya's Gaddafi

Gaddafi 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

As Israeli-Arab leaders met Sunday evening with Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, right-wing politicians and organizations in Israel called for sanctions against the six MKs who were members of the delegation to Libya.

MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List) described the meeting with the maverick ruler as “wonderful,” and said that Gaddafi emphasized the importance of the first-ever visit of Israeli Arab MKs to his country.

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The nearly four-dozen-strong delegation of Israeli-Arab politicians, religious leaders and journalists met Gaddafi Sunday evening for dinner at Gaddafi’s famous Beduin tent in his hometown of Serat, where he hosted an Arab League summit last month.

According to Sanaa, Gaddafi told the delegation that “we are not against the Jews, but against the Zionists.”

Sanaa asked Gaddafi to help push forward a proposal by which Arab states will “open their doors” to Israeli Arabs. Sanaa asked that Israeli Arab students be permitted to attend Libyan universities, and the Libyans agreed.

“The settlements policy renders the solution of two states for two peoples irrelevant,” complained Sanaa, who also predicted that “the fate of the Israeli occupation is to end like the Italian colonial occupation ended in Libya.”

But back in Israel, some of Sanaa’s fellow MKs saw the visit as anything but wonderful, as calls grew for the six MKs – Sanaa, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Haneen Zoabi (Balad), Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) and Afo Agbaria (Hadash) – to be penalized for their trip.

“I would suggest that the Arab MKs stay in Libya with Gaddafi,” said MK Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu). “Israeli citizens won’t shed a tear if they stay there together with one of the great haters of Israel.

“Time and time again, the Arab MKs prove with whom their loyalty lies, and the country must reach its own conclusions regarding their visit to an enemy state.”

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) invoked a law that he helped pass that would prohibit MKs found to have visited an enemy state from running as candidates in the next Knesset elections.

Orlev sent letters to Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia – who also serves as the head of the Central Elections Committee – and to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein invoking the so-called Bishara Law that was passed in 2008.

According to Orlev, Libya is considered an enemy state by the Defense Ministry, and as such the MKs were required to receive the approval of Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) before embarking on the visit.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel also drafted a letter to Weinstein, calling on the attorney-general to open a criminal investigation against the six MKs for their visit to an enemy state.


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