By Jesse Lempel/TPS
Jerusalem (TPS) – The Knesset Ethics Committee issued a “severe censure” on Monday, March 21, to MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab Joint List faction, for his comments about Likud MK and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter.
“Dichter sent people who murdered [PLO Chairman Yasser] Arafat, as well as [Hamas founder] Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,” Odeh said during an interview with Channel 2 television at the end of February.
Appearing before the Knesset Ethics Committee, Odeh defended his remarks, claiming that he and other Arab Knesset members had been called “terrorists” and “Hamas representatives” in the past without sanction.
The committee, chaired by Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin, decided that Odeh had indeed violated the Knesset ethics regulations, since his remarks were “personal” rather than “political” in nature, and as such are “illegitimate.” However, the committee also acknowledged that personal insults of this kind have until now been protected by the Knesset members’ right of free expression.
The committee decided that all personal attacks such as “murderer,” “terrorist,” and “Nazi” will be considered violations of Knesset ethics regulations “which could lead to significant sanctions.”