MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) received sanctions from the Knesset Ethics Committee for
participating in last year’s flotilla to the Gaza Strip, but she apparently
won’t be punished for shoving a Knesset usher last Wednesday.
House Committee convened Tuesday to consider recommending sanctions for the
incident when Zoabi resisted a female usher who was trying to remove her from
the Knesset plenum for going too far in heckling Prime Minister Binyamin
Haneen Zoabi suspended from Knesset over Gaza
Complaint to Knesset c'tee: Zoabi attacked usher
A majority of the MKs in the House Committee said they were
satisfied with Zoabi’s repeated apologies, which she delivered personally to the
usher in the Knesset, in multiple media interviews and in a letter she wrote to
the usher and the committee.
“I didn’t intend to push or harm you,” she
wrote the usher. “I respect you and your work. I apologized in the press at my
own volition without anyone have to tell me to.”
Zoabi did not attend the
committee meeting, but she told the Knesset Channel that she was merely trying
to leave the plenum unassisted when the usher’s body got in the way of her
She noted it was the first time she was ever thrown out of
the plenum, while other Arab MKs are expelled regularly.
MKs Einat Wilf
(Independence), Avraham Michaeli (Shas) and Kadima MKs Shlomo Molla, Otniel
Schneller and Doron Avital accepted Zoabi’s explanation. Only MKs Alex Miller
(Israel Beiteinu) and Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) called for Zoabi to be
“Zoabi attempted to bring the violent atmosphere of the Mavi
Marmara to the Knesset plenum,” Miller said.
“She acted violently and
brutally against the usher, so she should be indicted for the crime of attacking
a policeman in the line of duty.”
The committee issued a statement
praising the ushers for their work and warning MKs to treat all Knesset
employees, especially ushers, with the utmost respect.
Union Haim Ayavi and Knesset Guard commander Yosef Griff said they viewed
Zoabi’s apologies as the end of the episode.
But MK Tzipi Hotovely
(Likud), who is a member of the Knesset Ethics Committee, said Zoabi may still
be punished by the committee for the incident.