MK Haneen Zoabi..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Balad MK Haneen Zoabi was expected to file a complaint with the Knesset on Sunday after she was detained and handcuffed by police on Friday, during a violent anti-war demonstration in Haifa.
Zoabi was apprehended by officers who did not recognize her and the local police commander later intervened to order her release, because she had immunity as an MK.
But Zoabi and her Balad colleague, MK Jamal Zahalka, may still be charged with attacking police, a charge that may not be covered by their immunity.
Zoabi and Zahalka said they were assaulted by police and not vice versa. Thirty people were arrested at the demonstration.
Zoabi told Al-Jazeera that Hamas had succeeded in proving to Israelis that they cannot continue to occupy Palestinian land. She encouraged Hamas to continue fighting Israel.
“Israel wants a short operation,” she told the Doha-based network that is funded by the same Qatari regime as Hamas.
“Its home front cannot tolerate a lengthy conflict.”
Hamas spokesman Husam Bardan praised Zoabi as a “Palestinian patriot worthy of the respect of our people.” He expressed hope that other Arab politicians would learn from her.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said his party would use such statements by and about Zoabi to try to prevent her and “the traitorous Balad party” from running in the next election. The Central Elections Committee banned Balad from running in last year’s election but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court.
“We hope that this time the Supreme Court will remember what Zoabi said and make the right decision to uphold a decision by the Central Elections Committee to prevent such enemies of Israel from being members of the Israeli Knesset,” Liberman said.
Liberman and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who pushed for a ground invasion, praised the decision over the weekend. Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni said she voted for the invasion with a heavy heart.
“Hamas had an absurd idea that they could win politically, diplomatically and physically,” Livni wrote on her Facebook page. “I hope it is now clear to them that it will not happen.
We are just at the beginning of the operation. All options are on the table.”
Labor and Shas offered their full support for the operation.
Along with United Torah Judaism and Kadima, they decided not to file no-confidence motions for Monday.
Meretz did not make such a decision. Its leader, MK Zehava Gal-On condemned the ground operation on her Facebook page.
“It is too bad that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu surrendered to the militancy of Liberman and Bennett and dragged all of Israel into a ground operation in Gaza’s bloody swamp,” Gal-On wrote.
“The price will be paid in blood by IDF soldiers and innocent Palestinians. A responsible leadership does not allow a terrorist organization to dictate its steps.”