The Knesset Ethics Committee exceeded its authority when it banned MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) from all parliamentary activity except voting, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel wrote to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein Thursday.

The NGOs referred to a decision made last month after Edelstein and many others complained to the Ethics Committee about comments Zoabi made seemingly supporting Hamas attacks on Israel.

According to the letter, the Ethics Committee is violating Zoabi's freedom of political expression as well as her parliamentary immunity. The NGOs said the Ethics Committee may only use such punishments for actions taken outside of the Knesset in special cases, and not for political speech that is part of an MK's job.

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