Kadima's proposed Knesset committee allocations stir uproar

Allegations spread that Kadima had tilted the numbers in their favor.

A meeting of the Interim Knesset House Committee quickly degenerated into shouts Monday, as Kadima officials presented their proposal of how many seats each party would be allotted in the Knesset committees. A spokesman for the committee said they had assigned each party a certain number of seats based on their percentage of MKs in the Knesset. Parties with more than seven MKs in the Knesset were automatically granted at least one seat in the "big four" of the Knesset Committees: the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the House Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Law Committee. Allegations spread, however, that Kadima had tilted the numbers in their favor and avoided placing right-wing MKs in committees that would eventually play a role in passing the convergence plan. Likud Mks charged that the the list presented showed a high number of Meretz and Arab MKs on the Finance and Law Committee, a strategy, they allege, is meant to guarantee that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could pass his plans through those two committees. Arab MK Taleb a-Sanaa, however, charged that his party's placement in those committees was in lieu of being denied a place on the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. A-Sanaa was a member of the Interim Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee when he met with Hamas parliamentarians. That meeting was condemned by the Interim Chairman, Mk Yuval Steinitz (Likud) who subsequently cancelled future committee meetings to prevent a-Sanaa from attending. Meanwhile, Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman continued his attack on Arab MKs Monday by repeating his statement that Arab legislators demonstrating disloyalty to Israel should be punished. "How is it that no Arab MK sings the national anthem? Why is it that no Arab MK condemns the calls made by the Iranian president?" Lieberman asked the plenum Monday. "They are not true citizens." Lieberman's speech was interrupted by Arab MKs in the plenum who yelled he was "worse than a racist." Last week, Lieberman likened Arab MKs to Nazi war collaborators and said they should be punished as enemies of the State of Israel.