Israeli High Court justices blast Arab MK’s anti-Israel statements

Arab MK Hanin Zoabi. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday leveled scathing criticism at Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) during a hearing on a petition she filed against the Knesset Ethics Committee’s decision to suspend her from the Knesset plenum for six months.

Zoabi was suspended from the Knesset in late July following a series of anti-Israel statements that prompted multiple requests by other parliamentarians to sanction her. She stated in a radio interview that the murderers of Israeli teenagers Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel were “not terrorists.” Several weeks later, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, she called on the Palestinian Authority to “lay siege to Israel rather than negotiate with it.”

In her petition, Zoabi claimed that the Ethics Committee had exceeded its authority by suspending her, and that it was not within its purview to sanction MKs over their political views. She further claimed that the sanctions imposed on her were disproportionate compared to previous cases brought before the committee.

But throughout Tuesday’s hearing, High Court Justices Miriam Naor, Elyakim Rubinstein, Salim Joubran, Esther Hayut, and Hanan Melcer blasted Zoabi for repeatedly violating the Knesset’s code of conduct. Naor criticized Zoabi’s approach throughout her dealings with the Ethics Committee, saying the response offered to the panel was “vague and simplistic, not at all like the claims made here.”

Commenting on statements made by Zoabi during the Gaza campaign, Melcer said, “I have failed to find any other case where a member of parliament urged a siege on his own country.” 

Speaking with reporters as she was coming out of the courtroom, Zoabi said, “What I do is every MK’s right. I hope the judges deal with the facts, because the court is the last defense of human rights.”

Posted on December 10, 2014 .