“Israel wants a short campaign, the home front cannot handle a prolonged conflict,” MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) said in an interview on Saturday with the Qatari Al Jazeera TV station, comments for which she received praise from Hamas officials.
Less than 24 hours after she was handcuffed for several minutes as she took part in protests in Haifa against the IDF's ground operation in Gaza, Zoabi discussed the operation's implications for Israel.
“There are surprises, not only in the military sphere in terms of the number of rockets, their range and the fact that the resistance is not surrendering; the surprise (for the Israeli public) is that the missiles reached Tel Aviv,” she said.
Husam Badran, an international spokesman for Hamas, lauded Zoabi's statements and said that she “is a Palestinian woman filled with patriotism. She deserves respect and appreciation from all of our people. We hope that some of the official politicians will take an example from her and act according to her commendable stances.”
Zoabi claimed that “Israel is trying to convince itself with strange working premises. It thinks that it succeeded through the disengagement from Gaza in severing the Palestinian people's ties from Gaza.”
She further added that Israel was forced into deploying ground forces in the Gaza Strip: "On the one hand, there is a shortage in the bank of military targets and Israel was forced to launch a ground incursion, which it is afraid of. Israel is concerned regarding the expansion of the operation.”
She also stated that "Israel is waiting for some sort of ceasefire procedure," and that the State is "putting its hopes in the Egyptian side.”
On Friday, several hundred Israeli Arabs demonstrators in Haifa protested against the expansion of IDF activity and the ground forces' entry into Gaza. Several protestors blocked a street in the city and clashed with police. During the demonstration, police handcuffed for some five minutes, saying that she was bound after attacking officers at the scene. Zoabi denied the claims and said that police attacked her and kicked her
In the afternoon hours of the same day, thousands of people rallied in Kafr Kanna, in a demonstration organized by the Islamic movement. The demonstrators waved the movement’s flags and carried banners on which were written the names of those killed in the Gaza Strip, chanting “No to war in Gaza” and “They sold Gaza for a dollar”.
Deputy Head of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib explained that “it hurts us to see what is happening in Gaza. We condemn the killing of children and women and the destruction of structures.
"The government of Israel should know that there will never be peace as long as the Palestinian people are not given their rights.” He added that “Netanyahu is acting without logic. He needs to understand that he will not achieve his goal through ways of war and weapons.
One of the protestors added that his friends will continue to struggle against the offensive. “We are entitled to defend the residents of Gaza and condemn what is happening to them. The government is trying to silence us, but it’s not going to happen,” he stressed.
MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) commented on the protest in Haifa, saying that it was a legitimate demonstration. He said that “instead of respecting the non-violent demonstration, the police brutally attacked protestors. The protests against the killing of children and civilians in Gaza will continue.”
Elior Levy and Hassan Shaalan contributed to this article.