MK Hanin Zoabi at the Knesset. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) MK Hanin Zoabi at the Knesset. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Member of Knesset (MK) Danny Danon has called on the Israeli High Court to take action against controversial Arab MK Hanin Zoabi.

MK Danny Danon submitted a petition last week asking the High Court to charge Zoabi with incitement to violence and terrorism based on statements she made this summer regarding the kidnapping of three Israeli boys, according to reports.

Zoabi “justifies terrorists by claiming they are not terrorists,” Danon wrote in his petition, according to Israel National News. “She identifies with and supports the enemies of Israel. I ask the court to help open the eyes of the law enforcement and send Zoabi to the place she really belongs: prison.”

Danon’s petition referred to statements made by Zoabi after the June 12 Hamas kidnapping of the three Jewish teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frankel, but before their bodies were discovered. Zoabi claimed in an interview that the kidnappers were not terrorists and that committing such acts was their only way of forcing Israelis to experience the suffering of the Palestinian people. She subsequently justified her statement by saying the armed struggle against “the occupation” was “legitimate” and was not considered terrorism by Palestinians.

MK Danny Danon at a meeting in March 2014. (Photo: Flash 90)

MK Danny Danon at a meeting in March 2014. (Photo: Flash 90)

Not Incitement, Says AGO

Israel’s Attorney General’s Office has already said it would not open an investigation into those specific statements. Zoabi’s comments did not cross the legal line into incitement because, although she didn’t view the kidnappers as terrorists, she “always disapproved of the abduction,” Raz Nizri, the deputy attorney general, said in July.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein did give the go-ahead in July for a criminal investigation into Zoabi’s behavior that month in a courthouse in Nazareth. Following their investigation, police recommended that Zoabi be charged with incitement to violence and insulting a public employee, as a result of statements she made to two Arab police officers.

Zoabi has been harshly criticized by several politicians, and many members of the Israeli public, for her declarations against the Jewish state this summer during Operation Protective Edge, a defensive military action by Israel against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, as well as in previous years.

Zoabi Widely Disliked

The Knesset Ethics Committee in July imposed a six-month ban on Zoabi doing anything in parliament except for voting, after reviewing a complaint of incitement, which was filed by a number of MKs and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. The complaint cited Zoabi’s statements about the kidnappers, plus an editorial she wrote for a Hamas-affiliated website, in which she referred to Israel in quotation marks and appeared to promote violence against Israelis.

“We must…instead of security coordination, declare popular resistance; instead of negotiating with ‘Israel,’ besiege it, and instead of splitting, unite,” wrote Zoabi, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

A poll by the Knesset Channel TV station that same month found that 89 per cent of Israelis supported revoking Zoabi’s citizenship.

Author: Joanne Hill
Staff Writer, United with Israel