(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Attorney General Menahem Mazuz decided on Thursday that criminal charges would not be brought against MK Effi Eitam (NRP-NU) or inflammatory comments he made during the summer in which he called for the expulsion of Arabs from the West Bank and the Knesset.
Eitam's comments were made in July at a memorial service for First Lieutenant Amitai Merchavia, a resident of the Eli settlement, near Ramallah in the West Bank. Merchavia had been killed days earlier in fighting with Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.
"We will have to expel most of the Judea and Samaria Arabs from here. We cannot live with all these Arabs. We will have . . . to remove the Israeli Arabs from the political system," Eitam said during the service.
Arab MKs immediately turned to the attorney general and demanded a criminal investigation be opened against Eitam for incitement and racism.
State prosecutors weighed whether or not to bring Eitam up on charges until Thursday when Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan sent Eitam a letter notifying him that no criminal investigation would be opened against him.
"After examination, the attorney general has come to the conclusion that your remarks seem to constitute a criminal offense," the letter reportedly said.
"Nonetheless, despite the severity of the situation, the attorney general has decided that this is not the time to open a criminal investigation on the matter. This is due to the very minimized prosecution policy on such matters, especially when it comes to remarks made by MKs."
The letter concluded with a warning to Eitam against further anti-Arab rhetoric that may be deemed as incitement: "The attorney general requested I inform you that future repetition of similar statements may lead to criminal procedures against you."
"The prosecution system would be better off dealing with investigating and prosecuting Arab MKs who visited enemy states at a time of war and expressed support and empathy for acts of terror against Israel's citizens," Eitam said in response to the letter.