Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Haneen Zoabi

MK Haneen Zoabi called the decision “anti-democratic and illegitimate”, a form of political revenge that reflected the tyranny of the majority. “No one will determine for the Arab minority who represents it other than Arab citizens themselves,” she said. “I was elected to represent my people and, through their support, I have a legitimacy that the committee cannot take from me.”

Haneen Zoabi: “Legally, they have no case. I never imagined myself to be in the middle of a war like this. I don’t think they will disqualify me. If so, and if Balad is disqualified, there will be no election – the Arabs will not vote.”

Haneen Zoabi in a highly biased interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV. Her courage stands out, rising above the abrupt Israeli interviewing style: she keeps to her principled positions. (Hebrew with English subtitles.)

Palestinian Knesset member Haneen Zoabi is known for her fierce opposition to Zionism, to the concept of Israel as a Jewish state which she sees as inherently racist and unjust, and to the Israeli occupation. Instead, she envisions Arab-Jewish co-existence in Israel/Palestine, based on justice and equality, under a state for all its citizens. She also advocates replacing the Israeli occupation by a Palestinian state, and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Jonathan Cook and the IOA Editor sat with Haneen Zoabi at her Nazareth home in mid-December 2011 for an extended interview covering these issues and much more.

Haneen Zoabi talks about conditions of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the racism that is inherent to Israel as a Jewish State during the 3rd International Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Cape Town, November 2011.

Haneen Zoabi: “Israel will not stop being racist unless it pays the price of its racism and unless it loses the support of the international world. Israel keeps being racist because it enjoys also the support of the international community.”

There is no other meaning to a “Jewish state” except the recognition of the legitimacy of granting privileges to Jews in Israel at the expense of Palestinian citizens, annulling the legitimacy of our struggle for real democracy.

It is possible to sum up Israel’s relations with its Palestinian citizens in one sentence: We are not only a minority that is discriminated against, we are a minority at risk. Over the past two years, the Knesset has brought forth dozens of laws designed to strengthen the Jewish character of the country at the expense of its democratic character. I fight for my rights in my homeland. Perhaps this is news to many of you, but I did not choose to live in the State of Israel; Israel has chosen to live among my people and I.

IOA Editor: Although originally written for International Women’s Day 2011, this commentary is directly related to the anti-Palestinian laws under consideration by the Israeli parliament, including the Nakba Law and the law enabling “admission committees” approval-requirement for would-be residents of towns of fewer than 400 families – both just passed by Israel’s parliament.

[Note also the summary of readers’ reactions above article.]

The persecution of “Jewish Left extremists” creates a different dynamic than the persecution of Arab citizens. Political persecution is now extending to all layers of Jewish society, permeating into areas that not even the General Security Service, and the powers to be, have ever considered.

Henning Mankell, aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla: “We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates … The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal.”

Ms Zoubi, 39, a representative of the Tajamu Party, known for its Palestinian nationalist platform, has already shown she will not be following in their path. On a recent induction day for Knesset members, she made headlines locally when she pointed out to an official who repeatedly referred to “the territories” that he meant “the occupied Palestinian territories”.