The next time MK Hanin Zoabi gets up to speak, MK Eitan Cabel said in an interview on Army Radio Tuesday morning, Knesset members should just get up and walk out. “To expect us to ignore her horrible talk is very difficult, because the passions she rouses in us are difficult to control,” Cabel said. On the other hand, booting her out of the Knesset would be playing into her hands, turning her into a political martyr that will just enhance her standing with voters who agree with her.
Cabel, along with other MKs, is organizing the mass walk-out in response to the comments Zoabi made in a discussion last week on the Israeli reconciliation deal with Turkey, in which she called IDF soldiers “murderers” for defending themselves against the Hamas-affiliated provocateurs on the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships that illegally tried to breach the IDF’s blockade of Gaza in 2010.
Discussion of a law to ban MKs who are accused of incitement against Israeli values or the IDF that was set for this week has been delayed, in order to allow Arab MKs to participate in the discussion. Under the bill, MKs could sign a petition for the suspension of a fellow Knesset member if they violated the rules that were set in the Basic Law relating to Knesset members, namely that they not do anything to harm the sovereignty of the state. After a petition is signed by 61 MKs, it would have to be approved by three quarters of the Knesset Control Committee. An MK could not be banned unless 90 of his/her fellows voted him/her out. The bill also provides for an appeal process, both within the Knesset and at the High Court.
The law could be used against MKs like Zoabi, but it has a long way to go before being approved, said Cabel. “We realize that she is just using us, and we have to protect ourselves from people like this. Even the biggest advocate of democracy would have a hard time sitting in the same room as she insults our soldiers, our children. Instead of playing into her hands, I suggest that we just walk out when she gets up to speak. Just ignore her.”