Dubai police: Ex-MK Azmi Bishara is Israeli spy

Official says former politician, who fled Israel under suspicion of aiding Hezbollah, was sent to destabilize the region

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

Former Israeli Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara (photo credit: Flash90)
Former Israeli Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara (photo credit: Flash90)

A senior Dubai official accused this week former Arab-Israeli MK and academic Azmi Bishara, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Qatar since 2007, of being an Israeli agent who was sent to destabilize the Persian Gulf region.

In a series of recent statements, Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan alleged that Bishara, despite his rocky relations with his former country, was actually an agent of Israel and responsible for the recent deterioration of Qatar’s relations with its neighbors, according to a Tuesday Israel Radio report.

Bishara should be kicked out of the region, Khalfan added.

This is evidently not the first time Khalfan has made accusations against Bishara. In late January, Bishara posted on his Facebook page that Khalfan was part of a “coordinated defamation campaign” against him due to his “twin commitments to both patriotism and democracy.”

The police chief has been in the news recently for his statements against the Muslim Brotherhood, and, last week, alleged that Hezbollah was behind a recent deadly bombing in Bahrain. Khalfan was also the lead investigator into the 2010 assassination of senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the United Arab Emirates, which had significant diplomatic fallout for Israel as the killing was widely believed to have been a Mossad operation.

Bishara, a former Knesset member and founder of the Israeli-Arab Balad party, has been residing in Qatar since 2007. During the Second Lebanon War, Bishara was investigated by police for passing information about the IDF’s preparedness to Hezbollah agents and was allegedly compensated with hundreds of thousands of shekels by the terrorist group. The ex-MK was also accused of laundering funds.

Following the initial investigation, Bishara left Israel and told police and Shin Bet investigators he would return for a third round of questioning. However, the then-MK settled permanently in Qatar, and submitted his Knesset resignation from abroad. According to Bishara’s website, he has received Qatari citizenship.

In Qatar, Bishara operates an independent political think tank and is seen as being close to Qatari authorities. Most recently, in December, Bishara was behind a high-level conference between Palestinian factions held in Qatar, in response to the current round of US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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