Middle East

Ex-Arab Israeli lawmaker sentenced in Israel

FILE -- This Dec. 26, 2016 file photo, shows Arab Israeli lawmaker Basel Ghattas in a magistrate court, in Rishon Lezion, Israel. Ghattas, a former Arab lawmaker has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. An Israeli court on Sunday accepted a plea bargain between Basel Ghattas and prosecutors. As part of the deal, Ghattas, a member of the Joint List of Arab parties, agreed to resign from parliament last month. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

FILE -- This Dec. 26, 2016 file photo, shows Arab Israeli lawmaker Basel Ghattas in a magistrate court, in Rishon Lezion, Israel. Ghattas, a former Arab lawmaker has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. An Israeli court on Sunday accepted a plea bargain between Basel Ghattas and prosecutors. As part of the deal, Ghattas, a member of the Joint List of Arab parties, agreed to resign from parliament last month. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)  (The Associated Press)

A former Arab Israeli lawmaker has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

An Israeli court on Sunday accepted a plea bargain between Basel Ghattas and prosecutors. Under the deal, Ghattas admitted to slipping the phones and SIM cards to Palestinian inmates during a prison visit. As part of the deal, Ghattas, a member of the Joint List of Arab parties, agreed to resign from parliament last month.

Ghattas is to report to prison in July. He must serve two years, plus pay a $33,000 fine or serve an additional four months.

Arabs make up about one-fifth of Israel's population. While holding citizenship rights, they often face discrimination and are sometimes viewed with suspicion for identifying with Palestinians.