Following an incident in which Tunisian Parliament member Ammar Amroussia ripped up an Israeli flag in a parliamentary session, in a push for legislation criminalizing ties with Israel, a Tunisian TV channel held a debate on the issue of normalization of ties between the two countries.

Mounir Baator, head of the Liberal Tunisian Party, defended his party against Amroussia’s accusations that they were a “fifth column” within Tunisia—“mercenaries fighting alongside the enemies.”

Baator rejected TV host Walid Zribi’s suggestion that normalization of ties with Israel constituted treason.

In fact, he said that normalization was in Tunisia’s best interests in terms of economy and international relations, and that the country’s real problems were social and economic, and did not pertain to the Palestinian issue.

The debate aired on Tunisia TV on April 19.