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

Israeli Arab MK who joined Gaza flotilla: IDF raid was a ‘pirate’ operation

2 June 2010

By Barak Ravid, Jack Khoury and Jonathan Lis, Haaretz – 2 June 2010

Tempers flared in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday between Knesset members and MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), after she took part in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Zoabi accused the government during the parliamentary discussion of treating the Israel Navy’s bloody raid of a Turkish-flagged ship as a “pirate military operation”.

Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (left) and Likud MK Miri Regev (right)

Balad MK Hanin Zoabi (left) and Likud MK Miri Regev (right)

She demanded ministers explain why the soldiers had been ordered to confiscate reporters’ cameras and why the government had refused to allow the media to publish pictures of the nine people who were killed on board the ship.

Zoabi called on the government to open a national panel of inquiry into the incident, and asked why it was so opposed to international calls for an impartial and external probe.

Meanwhile, MK Miri Regev (Likud) accused Zoabi of being “responsible for a double crime: Joining terrorists, and a moral crime against the state of Israel.” Regev then called at her in Arabic: “Go to Gaza, you traitor.”

“She sat here over a year ago and pledged allegiance to the state of Israel and its laws,” Regev claimed. “I have no intention of stifling free speech, but in the case of MK Zoabi – it is not freedom of speech. The Gaza flotilla was a terrorist flotilla and MK Zoabi needs to be punished. We don’t need Trojan horses in the Knesset.”

Hadash-Ta’al MK Mohammed Barakeh called the Israeli government “a gang of pirates” during the discussion, saying “you are crazy – you swim against the world and harm your nation, driving it down the drain.”

“The two people responsible for the crime ran out of the room,” said Barake regarding Netanyahu and Barak. “We stand behind our friend Mohammed Zeidan, the head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, and of course our friend MK Hanin Zoabi, we see their acts as noble deeds.”

In response, MK Regev yelled at Barke “hypocrite, traitor.” MK Ben Ari (National Union) also confronted Barake calling: “Where is Gilad Shalit? Traitor, your day will come.”

A number of Knesset members announced their intention to demand an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the violent confrontations during the IDF’s raid on the Gaza aid convoy.

Meanwhile, the political-security cabinet convened Wednesday for the second round of talks regarding the raid on the Gaza aid flotilla and the massive international condemnation it garnered.

The ministers were expected to discuss the option of erecting an inquiry committee to investigate Monday’s bloodshed, after the United States and the European Union have urged Israel to conducts an in depth inquiry on the events.

Netanyahu’s advisers Yitzhak Molcho and defense adviser Uzi Arad were in Washington for a second day of talks with White House officials over the possibility of erecting an official inquiry committee with U.S. help, as well as the future of the siege on Gaza.

A top official in Jerusalem said that Israel was interested in reaching an agreement and understanding with the U.S. over the investigation committee to gain international public approval when the final decision is made.

The U.S. wants an international body to be involved in the investigation committee, and has offered to send officials to take part in the probe in order to increase the results’ reliability.

Israel has not yet made an official decision on the matter.

The complete IOA coverage of the Gaza Flotilla

The complete IOA coverage of Haneen Zoabi

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