MK Bishara: IDF attacks 'like a nuclear bomb on Lebanon'

Knesset member Azmi Bishara (Balad) has accused Israel of such massive use of force in the conflict with Hizbullah that "it's like a nuclear bomb falling on Lebanon - the whole country is destroyed." Bishara made the accusation during an interview on Friday with Britain's Sky News. He derided the notion that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had okayed the offensive against Hizbullah to protect Israel's citizens, asserting that Olmert was acting because the United States had sought war to "break the stalemate in Lebanon." He also referred to Hizbullah's Katyusha rocket fire as "grenades on Haifa." The interviewer, apparently dumbstruck by the hostility to Israel being demonstrated by a member of its parliament, asked Bishara whether it was not the case that Syria and Iran, the nations supporting Hizbullah, seek Israel's destruction. Bishara responded that Israel had "a problematic relationship" with its neighbors because it was occupying and bombarding Gaza. He said that the current escalation could have been resolved with a much more minor Israeli military response to the Hizbullah incursion on July 12 and a subsequent prisoner exchange. National Union-National Religious Party MK Aryeh Eldad responded that he would advise Bishara to move to the Dachya neighborhood of Beirut, "so he could show his solidarity with Hizbullah in actions and not merely in words." His colleague, National Union-National Religious Party MK Zevulun Orlev, said Bishara was "sticking a knife in the IDF's back at a time of war" and that MKs who say such things should not be in the Knesset. Orlev proposed a bill revoking the Knesset membership of any MK who overtly supports Israel's enemies. Knesset Law Committee chairman Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima) agreed to Orlev's request to expedite the bill's passage. A special session of the law committee during the Knesset recess will discuss the bill, but its passage in the Knesset plenum cannot be completed until after the recess ends in October. Ben-Sasson, who voted against the bill when it passed its preliminary reading, said he is against statements from Arab MKs that identify with Israel's enemies , but that he opposes the bill, because he does not believe the Knesset should take the place of the courts. He said he prefers creating an atmosphere when such statements would not be made.