Orlev: probe Barakei-Mashaal meeting

NU/NRP chairman tells Arab newspaper that "meeting head of the snake" is a show of support.

NU/NRP Chairman Zevulun Orlev is demanding that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz open an investigation of MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) after reports circulated in the Israeli Arab press that the lawmaker held a secret meeting with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal. "A meeting with the head of the snake, Mashaal, is a blatant show of support for a terrorist organization and the armed struggle against Israel," Orlev said Friday after the Kul al-Arab weekly newspaper carried a report about the alleged meeting. Barakei told the paper that "attaining unity among Palestinians is an issue that keeps me occupied at all times, and we are willing to invest all of our efforts to that end." The veteran MK was not available for comment on Saturday. According to the article, Barakei met with Mashaal two weeks ago during a conference in Abu Dhabi devoted to the Palestinian diaspora and the events of 1948-49. The report did not elaborate on the content of the discussion between the two men, but emphasized that the talk was serious and not a mere chance encounter on the sidelines of the conference. On Monday, the Knesset approved a law amending the Basic Law: The Knesset, by which anyone who visits an enemy state without receiving permission would face a seven-year ban from running for the Knesset. The law does not apply retroactively - but if the reports turn out to be accurate, Barakei could still find himself in trouble under a different clause of the same Basic Law, which states that "a list of candidates or a candidate can be elected as long as their goals or their actions, literally or interpretively, do not negate the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incitement to racism or support of the armed struggle of an enemy state or a terrorist organization against the State of Israel."