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August 20, 2014 11:57 pm

Israel Police: Try Arab Knesset Member Zoabi for Incitement

avatar by Dave Bender

Arab-Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Arab-Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Israel Police on Tuesday said there was enough evidence to try firebrand Israeli-Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi (Balad) for incitement to violence, making threats and insulting a civil servant, according to officials.

The announcement follows Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s approval on July 27th of a criminal investigation against the Knesset Member for insulting an Arab police officer in court.

Zoabi cited what she characterized as a hostile and “racist, fascist” public atmosphere against her as a motivation behind the police decision.

“The recommendation is not a result of my interrogation, in which I gave detailed responses to all the allegations against me, but of the warmongering, racist and fascist atmosphere that casts its shadow on all Israeli authorities,” Zoabi said, according to The Times of Israel.

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She threatened that “…if I am put on trial, I intend to turn the hearings into the most political trial in the State of Israel: I am being put on trial over a trivial, insignificant matter, while ministers and MKs who have incited racism, violence and even murder are not investigated, even after complaints have been filed against them.”

Zoabi came under fire recently for saying that the abductors of murdered Israelis teens Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel were “not terrorists,” and for accusing the Israeli government and military of committing war crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

Last week, Zoabi and party members Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas visited Qatar and met with former Balad MK Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel in 2007 after being accused of providing intelligence to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

Qatar is a key financial and political supporter of Gaza based terror group Hamas, currently at war with Israel. During their trip to the country, the MKs were interviewed on Al-Jazeera. According to Ghattas, the MKs “did not hide their harsh criticism of the conduct of the [Israeli] government.”

The Knesset’s Ethics Committee last Tuesday decided to bar Zoabi from all plenum sessions and committee meetings for the next six months, following multiple complaints filed against her by MKs over her anti-Israel statements, Israel Hayom reported.

A six-month suspension is the harshest sanction the committee can impose on MKs, and Zoabi is the first MK to be subjected to so long of a suspension.

Zoabi said the Knesset decision was “scandalous, unprecedented.”

In 2009, she took part in the Mavi Marmara flotilla from Turkey to Gaza, aimed at breaking an Israeli naval blockade against arms-smuggling to Hamas. Read more about Zoabi’s run-ins with other lawmakers, the police, and other officials here.

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