Photo: Knesset
MK Hanin Zoabi
Photo: Knesset

MK suspended from Knesset for calling IDF soldiers 'murderers'

Arab Joint List’s Hanin Zoabi defends her accusations as 'the truth' after Ethics Committee suspends her for a week; 'no one has the right to shut people’s mouths because of uncomfortable opinions.'

The Knesset Ethics Committee took action Wednesday against Arab Joint List MK Hanin Zoabi by suspending her for a week from Knesset Plenum sessions and committee discussions for describing IDF soldiers as “murderers.”



MK Oren Hazan (Likud) filed a complaint against Zoabi for her statements which she made in February in the Education Committee during discussions on a proposed law authorizing the education minister to ban left-wing organizations from entering schools and educational institutions.


The Ethics Committee reviewed the segment of the video from the discussions in which Zoabi can be heard making her controversial remarks.


“A person who kills even once in his life or kills every day of his life is called a murderer. Therefore, even the army which occasionally murders, not every day … Have you not heard about the young Palestinians who were murdered? How the truth scares people here. It’s enough that they murder every four days. Who is murdering Palestinians in occupied territory?” Zoabi said.


MK Hanin Zoabi (Photo: Knesset)
MK Hanin Zoabi (Photo: Knesset)

The committee's chairman, Yakov Margi, said in response that "IDF soldiers are not murderers. They are operating in an impossible reality." Margi also removed MK Anat Berko (Likud) for interrupting Zoabi and refusing to let her speak.


The Ethics Committee ruled that a person who uses the word “murderers” against IDF soldiers operating in the name of the state, is unworthy of the broad protections that the committee extends for the freedom of political expression of MKs.


It also said that the use of the word constitutes a violation of the general ethics that determine that “a member of the Knesset shall act in a manner appropriate to his position as a member of the Knesset and shall promote public confidence in the Knesset.”


It was also noted that Zoabi’s controversial remarks are not the first in which she has violated the code of ethics.


Despite the ruling, Zoabi showed no remorse, and instead doubled down on her remarks, insisting that she had merely “spoken the truth.”


MK Oren Hazan (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
MK Oren Hazan (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


“I did indeed say that among IDF soldiers there are those who murdered Palestinians. I spoke the truth and I would be happy to hold a discussions on the matter. This statement is a fundamental element of freedom of expression, and no one has the right to shut people’s mouths because of opinions that they are not comfortable with,” she said in response.


“I would be happy to send you all detailed information about the high number of instances of murder of Palestinians at the hands of soldiers,” she added, before accusing the Ethics Committee of becoming “censorship committee.”


“I didn’t know that I need permission on what terminology to use, what can be said and what can’t be said, what values are allowed or not allowed to be protected, and whether the right to life is a sacred right, or one that can be annulled," she said.


“When they blow up entire neighborhoods in the knowledge that there are children, women and babies, men and young people, is this killing or murder? When they shoot protesters in the back, is this killing or murder? When they shoot at a youth at close range is this killing or murder? The Ethics Committee forces us to lie and cover up truths. It would be better to not have ethics like these.”


During her suspension, which will begin on the first week when the Knesset reconvenes for the summer session, Zoabi will be permitted to enter the Knesset to participate in votes only.


פרסום ראשון: 03.14.18, 20:48
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