Bishara: I won't be a political refugee

Says Israel will use his resignation to teach Israeli Arabs "a lesson."

Bishara 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozlimski)
Bishara 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozlimski)
Former Balad chairman Azmi Bishara, who resigned from the Knesset last week through the Israeli embassy in Cairo, said Sunday that he was not willing to become a political refugee. Bishara, currently in Qatar for a conference on free trade and democracy, told reporters from the Al-Hayat and Asharq Alawsat newspapers that his resignation had "embarrassed" Israel, and maintained that he had made the move at an "appropriate" time. He also said that he believed Israel's next move would be to prevent Balad from participating in Knesset elections. Israel would use his resignation to frighten Israeli Arabs and "teach them a lesson," Bishara said, calling on Israel's Arab population to stand firm. Furthermore, Bishara said, Israel would try to convince the Israeli and international communities that he had collaborated with the enemy during the Second Lebanon War. He insisted the allegations against him were false. The former MK denied reports that he intended to remain in one of the Gulf states, and told reporters that while the countries he had visited since leaving Israel had offered to host him, he still had not decided where he would live, as his family was still "inside."