Arab MK suspended for six months over remarks
Ethics Committee says Hanin Zoabi's statements 'identified with enemies of the state'; Zoabi criticizes suspension as an 'anti-democratic decision trying to silence a minority voice.'
The Knesset's Ethics Committee suspended MK Hanin Zoabi on Tuesday from all committee meetings and plenum sessions for six months – the maximum potential punishment – after complaints were filed against her remarks.
Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein wrote in the complaint that Zoabi published an online article in which she encourages Palestinians to "declare a popular resistance and blockade Israeli instead of returning to negotiations."
He added that she said the kidnappers of the three West Bank teens who were murdered in June were "not terrorists, they were forced to use these measures." Edelstein also mentioned Zoabi's clashes with police at an anti-IDF protest two weeks ago in Haifa.
In the decision, the Ethics Committee declared that "Zoabi deviated from the legitimate spectrum of discourse for a member of Knesset. Her remarks contained identification with the enemies of the state." It was further written that her calls for ending the security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority "were intended to harm Israel and its security."
Zoabi responded to the suspension, saying she would not "surrender to those who do not agree with me and want to silence me, punish me, and even take revenge on me. This is a political decision; it is an anti-democratic decision, a tyranny of the majority, trying to silence a minority voice and opinion."
Zoabi stressed that her suspension was "taken in the fiery atmosphere of war and reflects a fascist, vengeful approach. Instead of defending my freedom of speech and my parliamentary immunity, the committee is actively working to take revenge on me because of my positions, and to punish an entire segment of the public which I represent in my opposition to this criminal war."