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Israeli Knesset OKs first reading of controversial suspension bill

29 March 2016 6:41

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Israel’s Knesset approves suspending lawmakers accused of backing “terrorism” and seen to target Arab MPs as PM Benjamin Netanyahu orders Palestinian bodies held by the military not to be returned.

Fifty-nine lawmakers voted for the bill, widely seen as targeting the Arab-led bloc after three of its members met the families of Palestinian attackers.

The bloc accounts for 13 of Knesset’s 120 members, making it the chamber’s third-largest grouping.

The bill would give parliament the power to strip any lawmaker of the right to vote on draft legislation. It needs to pass a second and third reading in the Knesset before becoming a law.

Zouheir Bahloul, and Arab legislator, accused Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition of “quietly stealing Arab members’ right to a democratic discourse.”

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