Israeli police investigate Arab Knesset member for violating counter-terrorism law

A complaint by Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu appears to have led to the investigation.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Israeli police are investigating the actions of an Arab Knesset member who is accused of violating Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Law.

MK Abu Shahadeh belongs to an Arab party, the Joint List. He leads the Balad faction of the party, having been elected in January.

The investigation began in August 2020 after Shahadeh participated in an event celebrating the release of convicted terrorist Anis Saffouri. The Balad delegation Shahadeh led even handed the terrorist an honorary plaque.

A complaint by Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu appears to have led to the investigation. Im Tirtzu filed a police complaint at the time alleging that Shahadeh violated section 24 of Israel’s 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law that criminalizes voicing praise and support for terrorism.

On Monday, Channel 20 publicized a phone conversation between Im Tirtzu Policy Director Alon Schvartzer and a police investigator who requested that Schvartzer come in to testify against Shahadeh.

The police investigator said that his commanding officer needed to reply to the head of the Investigations and Intelligence Division about the case.

In response to the phone call, Im Tirtzu applauded the police for its investigation of Shahadeh and called for a quick indictment to be filed against him.

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Tom Nisani, head of Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk, said: “The time has come to end the double standard in favor of Joint List MKs, who are given free rein by the judiciary to promote terrorism and trample on the law.”

“These radical inciters belong in jail rather than in the Knesset,” continued Nisani, “and we are calling on the police and the judiciary to bring down the full weight of the law on MK Shahadeh and on all others who support terrorism.”

Saffouri, the terrorist Shahadeh and his comrades welcomed home, was convicted in 2009 of multiple charges in connection with a plot to murder Israeli scientists, air force pilots, and soldiers.