‘Dangerous Infringement’ – Israeli Knesset to Boot Out Lawmaker for Supporting ICJ Genocide Case

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Members of the Israeli Knesset House Committee overwhelmingly backed a proposal to oust Ofer Cassif. (Photo: via ACRI TW page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Members of the Israeli Knesset House Committee overwhelmingly backed a proposal to oust Ofer Cassif, a lawmaker from the Hadash-Ta’al Party.

Following two days of deliberation, the committee voted 14-2, thus escalating his impeachment to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). 

The nearly unanimous outcome drew criticism from Hadash-Ta’al Chairman Ahmad Tibi, who labeled it “a dark day for the Knesset.” 

For its part, the Labor Party denounced the entire process as “anti-democratic by nature.”

The move to remove Cassif from the parliament came in response to his public support for South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Jewish representative from the Arab-majority Hadash-Ta’al Party, Cassif endorsed a petition supporting Pretoria’s position and accused Israeli leaders of endorsing crimes against humanity targeting Palestinians.

In response, Yisrael Beiteinu MK, Oded Forer, initiated a previously unused legal provision within the 2016 Suspension Law, which enables legislators to expel their colleagues if found guilty of various offenses, including expressing support “for an armed struggle” against Israel or inciting racism.

It is unclear how Cassif’s support for the ICJ efforts to investigate Israeli crimes in Gaza qualifies as supporting armed struggle or inciting racism. 

However, during the Knesset debate yesterday, Avital Sompolinsky, the deputy attorney general for constitutional affairs, informed the House Committee that the impeachment of Cassif could potentially undermine the fundamental principle of freedom of expression for Knesset members. 

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‘Dangerous Infringement’

She warned that expelling him might pose a “dangerous infringement on the criteria for disqualification and removal.”

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Sompolinsky further explained that Cassif’s remarks against the Israeli occupation army didn’t amount to evidence that he supported armed struggle against Israel, “even if they were blunt and harsh.” 

She added that “disgust with the actions and condemnation are one thing, while the legal grounds for removing a sitting member of Knesset are another.”

The proposal will proceed to a vote in the entire Knesset within the next three weeks, requiring the backing of a minimum of 90 out of 120 lawmakers for approval. If it passes successfully, Cassif would have the right to appeal the decision at the High Court of Justice in an effort to have it overturned.

Hadash-Ta’al Chairman Ahmad Tibi claimed during the debate that many MKs “want to expel the Jewish Cassif in order to later push all the Arabs out of the Knesset. It’s been made obvious to us … not only by insinuation but by blatant remarks.”

Moreover, in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Anadolu, Cassif said rejection of Israel’s military response has led to “an assault on freedom of speech,” including death threats.

“People are arrested for tweets and posts, not in support of Hamas, of course, but in supporting ending the war, or before even cease-fire. Students are suspended from the universities and colleges. People are fired from their workplaces. The police are brutally violent towards the demonstrators,” he added.

(MEMO, PC)



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