Six Israeli lawmakers may lose immunity following trip to Libya

April 28, 2010

Israel’s Knesset may withdraw parliamentary immunity from six lawmakers who traveled to Libya to meet the country’s leader Moammar Gadhafi, the chairman of the chamber’s House Committee Yariv Levin has said.

“Knesset immunity is not a license to inflict continual damage on the state and make a mockery of parliament and the public,” Levin said on Wednesday.

Levin said the Knesset’s House Committee would debate at the earliest opportunity a measure to strip the members of their immunity, proposed by Michael Ben-Ari, an member for the rightist National Union party, Haaretz reported.

Gadhafi last week received an Arab-Israeli delegation including MKs Mohammad Barakeh, Ahmed Tibi, Talab Al Sana and Afu Aghbaria in Sirte where he hosted the recent Arab League summit.

“What we have here is an historic opportunity to abolish once and for all the immunity and rights of Knesset members who hate Israel and denigrate the state,” Ben-Ari said.

However, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin criticized the motion, which described the MKs who visited Libya as traitors.

But the speaker confirmed on Wednesday that he would forward Ban-Ari’s request to the House Committee and authorize a debate on the issue.

All six members who traveled to Libya said they would boycott the discussion.

“This is a bizarre and crazy debate in keeping with the atmosphere of persecution that emerges here time and again,” Tibi said in response to the motion. “We will continue to preserve cultural and national ties with the Arab world, which is our natural constituency in our struggle for equality.”


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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