Israeli Arab lawmakers visit Hamas sponsor Qatar

A Balad spokesman said the MKs Jamal Zahalke, Hanin Zoabi and Basel Ghattas paid for the trip to Qatar themselves.

Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Balad’s three MKs visited Qatar, one of Hamas’s primary funders, last week.
A Balad spokesman said that MKs Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas paid for the trip themselves and that it was not funded by the Qatari government, though they appeared on Al Jazeera, a Qatari channel, during the trip.
The MKs visited Balad’s founder, Azmi Bishara, Channel 2 News reported on Sunday.
Bishara fled the country and resigned from the Knesset in 2007 during a police investigation of his ties with enemy agents, including Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
A Balad spokesman said he was not aware of the MKs Bishara visit, only that they met with local media and academics.
MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) expressed outrage at the Balad MKs’ trip.
“Qatar has three Knesset seats for terrorism,” Kariv said. “Operation Protective Edge isn’t over, the quiet has not yet returned to residents of Israel and the residents of Gaza are trying to rehabilitate their lives after the destruction Hamas caused.
“Instead of helping, Balad decided to fly to Qatar, a country that funnels money to a well-oiled system of terrorism, and meet with the traitor Azmi Bishara,” Kariv added.
At the beginning of Protective Edge, Kariv wrote letters, calling on Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to investigate Balad MKs’ connections with Bishara and Qatar.
“I have no doubt this connection was proven,” Kariv said Sunday. “I call to immediately examine if this is enough to remove [Balad MKs’ parliamentary] immunity and make the party illegal immediately.”
“Zoabi, Zahalka and Ghattas are taking advantage of their Israeli immunity to enjoy Qatari immunity,” she said.