Arab-Israeli lawmaker who smuggled phones into jail to serve 2 years

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — An Arab-Israeli lawmaker who allegedly smuggled cell phones to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons will resign and serve two years in jail as part of a plea bargain, Israeli media reported.

Basel Ghattas of the Balad Party, which is part of the Arab Joint List, was suspended In January by the Knesset Ethics Committee. The deal was worked out and agreed upon Thursday, the Ma’ariv news site reported.

Ghattas was captured on a video surveillance camera passing cell phones to two Palestinian security prisoners in Ketziot Prison in January. At first he denied passing the cell phones, but reportedly admitted passing the packages after being shown the video, though he said he thought they contained reading material.

He said his action was “humanitarian and moral activism” after he was questioned two weeks ago.

He was charged with “smuggling contraband into prison; affording means to commit a terrorist act; illicitly introducing documents into prison and deceit and breach of trust by a state employee.”