Israeli police search Arab parliamentarian’s office

Israeli police have searched an Arab parliamentarian’s office after he was stripped of his parliamentary immunity, Al-Risalah newspaper reported on Sunday. Basel Ghattas MK agreed to the move in order to allow a police investigation to proceed unhindered. He is accused of smuggling mobile phones and SIM cards to Palestinian prisoners inside Israel’s jails.

A court extended his detention on Friday for four extra days. His parliamentary immunity has been removed temporarily until the investigation is completed, meaning that he can be arrested if the police decide that there is a case against him.

Ghattas said in a written statement that he would face the investigations and accusations against him until the end. He insisted that he has not committed any “security violations” as has been alleged. He insists that as far as he is concerned the prisoners’ issue is one of “humanitarian and ethical justice.”

This is not the first case of its kind against Arab members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Just two months ago, the Israeli police summoned two other MKs and investigated them for six hours.

Palestinian citizens of Israel won 13 seats in the Knesset at the last election and are regarded as outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and the country’s racist policies against the people of Palestine.