Arab Knesset member and Balad Party officials give warm welcome to a jihadi convicted of conspiring to murder Israelis.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

A legislator from the predominantly Arab Joint List, Knesset member Sami Abou Shahadeh of the Balad faction, participated last week in an event celebrating the release of a convicted terrorist, the Im Tirtzu oranization said Tuesday.

Abou Shehadeh, Balad Secretary General Mustafa Taha and former MK Jamal Zahalka presented an honorary plaque to Anis Saffouri, a resident of the Israeli-Arab city of Shfaram who was convicted in 2009 of membership in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization and conspiracy to murder Israelis.

Saffouri was released from prison last week and was met by hundreds of Shfaram residents, including the Balad members who spoke at the event and met with Saffouri.

Balad then uploaded pictures and videos from the event to their official Facebook page.

The pro-Israel watchdog group Im Tirtzu filed a police complaint and submitted an additional complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee against MK Shahadeh, accusing him of violating section 24 of Israel’s 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law that criminalizes voicing praise and support for terrorism.

Police on Monday informed Im Tirtzu that a file against MK Shahadeh was opened and that the incident is currently under investigation.

“The time has come to end the double standard in favor of Joint List MKs, who are given free rein by the High Court to promote terrorism and trample on the law,” said Tom Nisani, head of Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk.

“These radical inciters belong in jail rather than in the Knesset and we are calling on the Knesset Ethics Committee and the police to bring down the full weight of the law on MK Shahadeh and his terror-supporting colleagues in the Joint List,” Nisani said.

On the Balad Party Facebook page, a picture of the celebration welcoming Saffouri was accompanied by a party statement that said they welcomed “the hero captive.”

“We challenge the Zionist project with the aggression of the owners of the land … Congratulations freedom to hero Anis, and we await thousands of heroes of our people who are still behind bars,” Balad said.