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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

MK Azmi Bishara removed from hearing for profane remark

Last update - 22:10 05/12/2006

MK Azmi Bishara removed from hearing for profane remark
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent

MK Azmi Bishara (Balad) was removed from a Knesset Legislative
Committee session on Tuesday for his use of profane-language
during an official meeting.

A heated argument broke out between Bishara and MK Gilad Erdan
(Likud) at the hearing of a proposed law submitted by MK Zevulun
Orlev (National Religious Party) that, if approved, would allow
the Knesset to expel elected members from its ranks.

According to Orlev's proposal, MKs deemed as inciting racial
hatred, denouncing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish and
democratic country or expressing support of violence against the
state or in a terror organization could be voted out of the
parliamentary assembly.

Erdan, who was in favor of the proposed law, remarked that
"Hitler's government was also democratically elected," and called
on the Israeli Arab Bishara to "go preside in a Palestinian or
Syrian parliament."

Bishara, who apparently misheard Erdan's remark and confused the
Hebrew verb for to preside with the similar sounding Hebrew verb
for to procreate, replied by using the f-word and called the
Likud member a "dog."

In response, a commotion erupted and the chairman of the
committee, MK Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima), removed Bishara from
the hearing.

Outside the boardroom, Bishara said he misunderstood Ardan's
remark and lamented his choice of words in the midst of a heated

Meanwhile, Ben-Sasson rejected Orlev's attempts to postpone the
committee vote in order to introduce changes to it that would
boost its chances of being approved.

Orlev's proposal was rejected by a majority of 11 to 5.

After the hearing was over, MK Ardan told press he thought MK
Bishara's response was uncalled for no matter what he thought he
had heard.

Bishara to propose bill to return expropriated land

Bishara will submit a Knesset bill Wednesday that would force the
government to return expropriated land to its original owners in
specified cases.

According to the proposed law, the property would revert to its
owners if after seven years it has not been used for the original
purposes intended by the government, or if the original purpose
has been changed.

Countless acres of land have been expropriated from Arab and
Jewish citizens over the years, and given the status of state
land, to be used at the discretion of the government.

In the case of revised uses for the land, the original agreement
between the landowner and the government would be examined. If
the landowner received compensation, he would be required to
return the payment in full.

Bishara said the new law aims to correct a "distortion" in the
current land directive established by British Mandatory rule in
1943, and followed to this day by the Supreme Court and the
government's legal advisors.

The present directive cuts ties between previous owners and their
land, giving the government the power to do whatever it sees fit
with the land once the deed is signed.

"We are talking about a matter of public interest of the utmost
importance, something the High Court has addressed, and not a new
'Land Day,'" said Bishara, in a reference to an annual day of
protests by Israeli Arabs, in part over past land confiscations.

Attorney Suhad Bishara, representing the Adalah Center, a rights
advocacy group which deals with land rulings, said the proposal
is meant to complement a verdict reached by the High Court,
"which clearly states that the bond between the expropriated land
and its owners remains even after the land is taken."

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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