MK Haneen Zoabi..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
MK Haneen Zoabi refused to go to her police investigation scheduled for Sunday, with her lawyers demanding to be given the “minimal factual basis” for allegations that she incited against and insulted a public servant.
The ongoing criminal investigation against Zoabi (Balad) relates to a hearing at a Nazareth court in which, according to the Attorney- General’s Office, Zoabi called Israeli-Arab police officers traitors, implied threats against them and told a protesting crowd to spit in their faces.
Zoabi’s lawyers Hassan Jabarin and Maisana Morani said she has not made a final decision as to whether or not she will cooperate with the investigation in the long run, but for now, they asked for information about the events the National Fraud Squad of the police plans to investigate and what crimes she is suspected of committing before she is questioned.
According to the attorneys, Zoabi needs more legal advice because she has parliamentary immunity and is not supposed to be investigated or charged for expressing her opinion as part of her job as a member of Knesset.
As such, the lawyers wrote, the investigation changes Zoabi’s status and rights and there is a doubt that it is legal to question her.
The attorneys asked the police for updates on the status of complaints she submitted, including one against Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for saying “the fate of the kidnappers [of three boys in Gush Etzion who were later found murdered] must be the same as the fate of Zoabi, who encouraged the kidnapping,” one against news site 0404, which disseminated her phone number and led to her being harassed, and others.
The fact that police demanded to question Zoabi immediately and not those who threatened her led the MK to question the police’s interests in the matter, her lawyers wrote.
Police declined to comment on the issue, saying that it is the attorney- general’s responsibility because Zoabi is a MK. The Attorney-General’s Office did not make any decisions on the matter as of press time Sunday.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud), who held a meeting last week in which she demanded that police crack down on incitement, wrote a letter Sunday to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein demanding that Zoabi’s parliamentary immunity be revoked.
“It cannot be that MK Zoabi can make a mockery of law enforcement and the State of Israel,” Regev said.
“I call on the Knesset to put an end to this farce and allow her to be put on trial and arrested for the serious incitement she voiced.”
Last week, the Knesset Ethics Committee banned Zoabi from all parliamentary activity except for voting for six months for comments she made saying the kidnapping of the three boys is not terrorism, but is a response to the “occupation” – though she said she opposes kidnapping – as well as articles and statements on television supporting Hamas activities against Israel, among other incidents.