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

Haneen Zoabi: Right is punishing me

28 March 2011

Haneen Zoabi and Ahmen Tibi

Israeli parliament: Haneen Zoabi and Ahmen Tibi

By Omri Efriam, – 28 March 2011,7340,L-4048817,00.html

Arab MK attends court hearing on her petition against Knesset’s decision to revoke her rights for participating in Gaza flotilla. ‘Extreme Right has become face of Israeli society. Knesset grants immunity to racists,’ she says

The Supreme Court began Monday to debate a petition filed by MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), against a Knesset decision to revoke her rights for participating in the flotilla to Gaza last May.”The rightist consensus in the Knesset is trying to punish me and not allow me freedom of expression,” Zoabi said. Rightists who awaited her exit from the court called her a “terrorist”.

“The extreme Right has become the face of the Knesset and Israeli society. The Knesset grants immunity to racist rightists,” she told Ynet after the hearing, which ended without a decision. Another hearing has been scheduled.

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad), who accompanied Zoabi to court, told Ynet, “Balad is proud of what MK Zoabi did. We must remember that the Knesset has adopted the views of the Kahane-supporter Michael Ben Ari. The face of the Knesset has become that of Kahane.”

The Knesset revoked the Arab MK’s rights in July after she boarded the Mavi Marmara, whose passengers attacked IDF soldiers sent to raid it. Zoabi became one of Israel’s most vocal critics after the incident, in which nine Turkish civilians were killed. Her diplomatic passport was revoked along with the privilege to leave the country if she commits a felony and the right to appeal to the Knesset to cover any legal fees if she faces trail. The Knesset claimed in response to Zoabi’s petition that the rights were revoked legally and that the aim had not been to punish the MK for her political rights but rather to deter other MKs from engaging in acts perceived by the majority as wrongful, such as participating in the flotilla, which had an aim of encouraging Israel’s enemies. Such actions “abuse the special rights given to Knesset members,” the Knesset responded, adding that there was no need for the court to become involved in the matter.

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) was also present at the court Monday morning. “I came to make sure that the spy Hanin Zoabi will not continue to scorn the State of Israel and fight IDF soldiers with the diplomatic passport she received from the Knesset,” he said. Ben Ari was accompanied by extreme rightists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, who called out towards Zoabi after the hearing, “You’re a terrorist. Go to Gaddafi. In any other country you would be in jail.”

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