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Saturday, September 09, 2006

The fifth column in the Knesset

One of my friends in the US has visited Cuba a number of times. One time the Cubans stamped his US passport, and when he returned to the US, it was noticed immediately. That friend told me that he is practically strip-searched each time he travels now by air in or from the US. So much for there being no profiling in the US.

But in Israel, people who so much worse things than what my friend did are often treated like heros. The Israeli-Arab fifth column has representation in Israel's Knesset. Tonight, three members of that fifth column, who are Knesset members from the Balad party, are in Syria in violation of Israeli law. Will anything be done to punish them when they return? Don't bet on it.
"We are Syria's ally," Balad chairman MK Azmi Bishara told the Syrian news agency upon his arrival in Damascus on Friday.

Bishara, who joined other members of the Balad Knesset faction, expressed his support for Syria and for the country's struggle to free "occupied Arab land." He also praised Syria's support for "resistance to the occupation."

The Balad MKs are slated to meet with Syrian leaders, in violation of Israeli law.

The delegation has expressed its solidarity with the Lebanese people harmed in the Israel-Hezbollah war, for which it blamed Israel. "The public in Lebanon and in Israel are the victims of the same policy," said Balad MK Jamal Zahalka, who headed to Damascus on Thursday, along with MK Wasal Taha.

"We don't see Syria as an enemy state," Zahalka said Friday, in an interview with Israel Radio from Syria. "There is an opportunity today to discuss peace."

Friday's visit marks the first time in five years that Bishara has been to Syria. In the wake of his 2001 visit, the Knesset passed a law prohibiting Knesset members from traveling to enemy countries.
On this one, I agree with right wing MK Avigdor Lieberman who said on Friday that there was no difference between the Balad delegation's trip and an act of espionage against the Jewish state. Unfortunately, though, their trip is unlikely to be treated as an act of espionage.


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