Arab Knesset member reprimanded for taking part in latest Gaza flotilla

Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Bassel Ghattas, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, was reprimanded by a Knesset Ethics Committee for his participation in an illegal flotilla to Gaza last month. 

Ghattas, a member of the Joint Arab List party, traveled on the Swedish ship Marianne en route to Gaza with several other activists before the boat was peacefully intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces and redirected to Ashdod. 

“MKs must make a clear difference between leading a battle to change policies, which is an inseparable part of their job and is under their broad freedom of speech, and publicly declaring that they want to break the law as part of their battle,” the Knesset Ethics Committee decision stated, the Jerusalem Post reported. 

“It is known that entering the Gaza Strip by land or sea is forbidden for citizens of the country  and is a crime, and breaking the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip has the potential to harm [Israel’s] security,” the committee added.

Despite participating in an illegal activity, Ghattas escaped any further punishment because this was his first recorded offense.

Ghattas is not the first Arab MK to actively participate in a mission to Gaza. MK Haneen Zoabi was on the Mavi Marmara vessel in 2010 when violence broke out between Turkish militants and Israeli commandos.

Posted on July 15, 2015 .