Mazuz decision to ignore Lieberman comments incenses Arab parties

Israel Beiteinu chairman had called a-Sanaa "a clown" and "a terrorist," adding that he should "be treated as such.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
January 27, 2009 22:44
1 minute read.
Avigdor Lieberman Israel Beiteinu 298.88

Avigdor Lieberman 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

 
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Arab party representatives expressed outrage on Tuesday over a decision by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz not to open a criminal case against Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman over comments he made about Arab MKs. "Lieberman's statements, as they were quoted in your letter, are not fitting as part of the public debate, and it would have been better had they not been made," wrote Raz Nazri, Mazuz's senior assistant, in a letter to east Jerusalem-based attorney Osama Sa'adi on Sunday. "Nevertheless, it seems that the criminal field is not the appropriate venue to address these sorts of comments, which were made within the public-political arena, and it is in that arena that they should be addressed." The letter was released to the press on Tuesday. Sa'adi blasted the decision, arguing that it gave a green light to incitement to racism and murder by failing to deem Lieberman's comments worthy of a criminal offense. Arab MKs had submitted the complaint against the Israel Beiteinu chairman last week in the wake of comments Lieberman made during a hearing to determine whether or not Arab parties Balad and the United Arab List would be permitted to run for Knesset. Lieberman had called UAL MK Taleb a-Sanaa "a clown" and "a terrorist," adding that he should "be treated as such. We will take care of you like we take care of every terrorist; we will take care of you just like we took care of Hamas." Lieberman's current Knesset campaign slogan, "No loyalty, no citizenship," is aimed at the Arab party leaders, whom he has consistently claimed constitute a fifth column working against Israel. He suffered a judicial defeat last week when the Supreme Court overturned a Central Elections Committee decision - sponsored by Lieberman - to disqualify the two Arab parties from running for the Knesset on the grounds that they "support an armed struggle against Israel and that their political platform aims to undermine Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state." But even without the newest legal challenge, Lieberman is still the target of an ongoing criminal investigation that recently returned to the headlines after his daughter, his attorney and a number of confidants were all detained for questioning in a probe of alleged shady financial transactions from which Lieberman allegedly benefited.

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