The reconciliation deal with Turkey touched off a melee in the Knesset on Wednesday, as Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) called IDF soldiers “murderers” and demanded that the Israeli government apologize to the “political activists” aboard the Mavi Marmara, including herself.
The plenum erupted in fury over Zoabi’s comments. Several MKs shouted at her, calling her “traitor,” and demanded she be removed from the podium. Within moments, the entire gathering was on its feet and Jewish and Arab MK’s nearly came to blows.
Zoabi contended on Wednesday that Israel agreed to pay the $21 million monetary compensation for the nine Turkish nationals who she said were “murdered.”
When Deputy Knesset Speaker Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) asked her to apologize, Zoabi retorted: “The IDF soldiers are the ones who need to apologize! You need to apologize!”
Amar repeately ordered her ejected from the plenum, as the ushers struggled to do so. At one point, Zoabi clung to a railing as MK Miki Zohar (Likud) shouted at her and the ushers had to pull her out.
MKs Oren Hazan (Likud) – who also called Zoabi a traitor – and Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) – who joined the shouting, but on her side – were also escorted out by ushers for disorderly conduct.
MK Nava Boker (Likud) called for Zoabi to be expelled from the Knesset and deported from Israel.
“Zoabi needs to be removed not just from the Knesset but the country entirely.”
“The things she said are no different from the views of terrorists and terror organizations. Those very soldiers whom she has labelled terrorists defend her and we cannot accept such statements in the Knesset or anywhere else. Zoabi’s venomous statements [will] lead to murder and the spilling of innocent blood.”
Deputy Housing Minister Jacky Levy said, “It’s a complete embarrassment that a hater of Israel and leader of the terrorist flotilla who smeared our heroic soldiers as murderers gets a platform in the Israeli Knesset to express her heinous, extreme views.”
Later Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he had contacted Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit “in order to examine the process of removing Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset.”
Six years ago, a Zoabi appearance in the Knesset triggered a similarly chaotic scene, when she defended her participation in the Gaza flotilla to the outrage of MKs.