Oct 05, 2007
In first interview with Israeli press, former Knesset member rejects suspicions of passing on information to enemy during Second Lebanon War.
Ynet Published: 05.10.07, 14:37 / Israel News
Former MK Azmi Bishara mocked the treason allegations against him in his first interview with the Israeli press since his abrupt departure from the country in April.
Yedioth Ahronoth reporter Assa’ad Telhami met with the former MK in Jordan on Thursday, where he was given the opportunity to tell his side of the story directly to the Israeli public.
“What intelligence information could I have? If anything, Hizbullah could sell me information,” Bishara said.
Bishara refuted claims of his suspected role in directing Hizbullah rockets during the Second Lebanon War.
“In the conversation that they recorded, I said, ‘How come the rockets are falling on Arab villages? We understand that as far as Hizbullah is concerned, it is targeting Haifa, so why fire at Arab villages, what’s going on here?’ That was the daily small talk every single Arab had at the time. That’s what they call handing Hizbullah information?”
Bishara also said that he did not leak any sensitive information that was not already circulating.
“If I tell a friend, a Lebanese reporter, ‘Listen, there are rumors that some sort of operation by Hizbullah was foiled during the war. All the journalists are saying it, they just haven’t published it yet.’ Is that disclosing information? Shin Bet views the Lebanese reporters I spoke to as foreign agents.
“Should I fear that the Shin Bet is watching me? I know it’s watching me. If I’m afraid of anything, it’s the atmosphere of incitement against me, which could cause people to act. I’m not afraid that Israel, as an institution, would dare to assassinate anyone. That’s not the situation today.”
When Telhami asked him if there was a chance of him returning to Israel, Bishara said that he would, but not as a “security criminal that has to defend himself”.
The former MK also commented on the likelihood of Syria reaching a peace agreement with Israel, and said that Syrian President Bashar Assad, who he considers a friend, was more capable of achieving peace than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
He also said that Assad was “much stronger” than former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu. “He is younger than them, qualified, open, and has more confidence in making decisions, including on the issue of peace,” he said.
Bishara advised against going to war with Syria, saying that the people of Israel had no reason to believe that things would be different this time around.
“What’s changed? Has the Israeli army fixed all its mistakes in a few months?” he asked, “We need to change the approach to the entire region by accepting the Saudi peace initiative.”
Y Net News