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Israeli Court Upholds Sanctions on Controversial Arab MK Zoabi

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Arab MK Hanin Zoabi. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. – A five-judge panel at the Israeli High Court of Justice on Wednesday rejected a petition to reinstate Arab MK Hanin Zoabi’s Knesset privileges.

In July, the Knesset Ethics Committee banned Zoabi from the Knesset plenum after she made a string of statements in support of terrorism. Although she can still vote on bills, she cannot take part in floor debates. She is also banned from Knesset committee hearings. The ban is in effect until Jan. 29, 2015.

Zoabi, a member of the Balad party, in 2010 participated in the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla that was intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea by the Israeli Navy. In June, when three Israeli teens were missing and believed to be held hostage by Palestinians terrorists, she said the perpetrators should not be called “terrorists” (it was later discovered that the teens were executed by their captors shortly after the abduction). After Israel launched Operation Protective Edge this summer, she authored an online essay advocating popular resistance and a siege on Israel.

A majority of High Court justices—Miriam Naor, Elyakim Rubinstein, Esther Hayut, and Hanan Melcer—upheld the ethics panel decision. “We saw no compelling reason to second guess the Ethics Committee, as it enjoys a wide latitude in such decisions,” they wrote. Justice Salim Joubran dissented.

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