Arab MK: We’ll return to Syria if needed
National Democratic Assembly MKs return to Israel following visit to Syria, Lebanon. They are soon to be investigated for illegally visiting enemy state Roee Nahmias
Knesset members of the National Democratic Assembly, returned to Israel Saturday evening, without MK Azmi Bishara, from a trip to Syria and Lebanon. The delegation, headed by Azmi Bishara, Jamal Zahalka and Wasil Taha, left for a trip to Damascus and Beirut nine days ago.
Zahalka told Ynet upon his return that “we don’t visit Syria every day, but we cannot rule out the possibility that will visit there again. If we will have a serious reason to visit the country, we will consider it.
“We still believe it is our right to maintain contact with the Arab world,” he said. Furthermore, the international covenant on minority rights specifies the legal right of a minority to maintain contact with members of the same minority in other countries.”
They met with Syrian President, Bashar Assad and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The MK’s visited the southern Beirut neighborhood of Dahiya and had a close up view of the devastation. The MK’s received a survey of the consequences of Israeli bombings and the suffering they caused to the area.
The three expressed solidarity with the residents and spoke of the shock they felt upon viewing the amount of destruction caused in the area. According to the Lebanese newspaper, ‘As-Safir’, Bishara praised the Lebanese people on their victory, but warned them not to take lightly what they had sacrificed.
During their visit in Syria, Bishara warned Syrians about the possibility that “Israel will attack from more than one place, in order to overcome the internal crisis it faces, and to rehabilitate, even a little, its deterring power.”
The National Democratic Assembly Knesset members are expected to be investigated following orders from Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, whose assistant, attorney Ran Nazri, has already sent a letter on the matter to the head of Police Investigations and Intelligence, according to which the MKs were suspected of illegally visiting enemy states.
Nazri pointed out that, by law, Israeli citizens are not permitted to go to a number of countries categorized as enemy countries. “One knowingly and unlawfully leaving Israel…to Syria…will be sentenced to four years in prison,” the law states.
Nazri also stated that a trip to such countries is only possible with permission from the Interior Minister or from the Prime Minister. No one actually approved the MKs’ trip to Syria.
In a letter by the Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On, to Attorney General Mazuz, he requested using his authority by employing emergency regulations which allow casting restrictions on leaving the country. He also requested that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni revoke the National Democratic Assembly MK’s’ diplomatic passports.