A month after she called IDF soldiers “murderers,” MK Hanin Zoabi is being “punished” by the Knesset Ethics Committee – with a “firm reprimand.” Also facing a firm reprimand is Likud MK Oren Chazan, who tried to shout down Zoabi when she made her comments. Several other MKs – Miki Levy, Chilik Bar, Aliza Lavie and Nava Bokar – received lesser reprimands for their milder criticism of Zoabi.
In a discussion on the restoration of relations between Israel and Turkey, Zoabi said that IDF soldiers were “murderers” for killing nine Hamas-affiliated provocateurs who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara as part of the 2010 Gaza flotilla. She demanded that the Israeli government apologize to the “political activists” aboard the Mavi Marmara, including herself, who was on the ship. At least 60 complaints on the comments have been filed by MKs with the Knesset Ethics Committee.
Chazan, Bar, Lavi and Bokar all rushed the podium, demanding that Zoabi be removed. Chazan, shouting loudly, said that Zoabi should be thrown out of the Knesset altogether. “This is not Palestine here,” he shouted. “You don’t belong here.”
The Knesset several weeks ago passed a law to ban MKs who are accused of incitement against Israeli values or the IDF. Under the bill, MKs can 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 must be approved by three quarters of the Knesset Control Committee. An MK could not be banned unless 90 of their fellows voted them out. The bill also provides for an appeal process, both within the Knesset and at the High Court.
According to Zoabi, “It is difficult for Knesset members to stop the incitement against me, even when I point out facts corroborated by the prime minister,” referring to Israel’s official apology and compensation for the deaths of the Marmara activists, which was part of the reconciliation deal. “MKs have a hard time looking at the truth. There was no justification for the deaths of nine Turkish citizens, and the many others who were injured.”
United Arab List head Ayman Odeh has been seeking to get Hanin Zoabi out of his party altogether, according to Channel Two. A report quoted Odeh as asking senior Knesset officials for advice on “how to get rid of her.” According to the report, Odeh told them that Zoabi “is causing us a great deal of damage. I want her out of the party.”
Odeh, who according to the report has also had enough of Zoabi’s antics, reportedly told MKs that it was their own fault that Zoabi got elected to the Knesset at all. “Without the change you Jews made in raising the minimum number of votes needed to enter the Knesset, she would not be in. Because of the increase, all the Arab parties had to get together into a single list. It’s your fault Zoabi is an MK,” he reportedly told MKs.