Arab MKs' photos with Hamas official raise outrage

Israel Beiteinu, Kadima MKs call for Zoabi, Sarsour to be ousted from Knesset; Almagor plans protest for Knesset Open House.

January 20, 2012 16:30
3 minute read.
MK ZOABI speaks to reporters in Amman [file]

MK ZOABI speaks to reporters in Amman, Jordan 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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MKs expressed outrage and families of terror victims planned an “ambush” on Friday, after photos showing Arab MKs at an event with senior Hamas officials were posted on the Internet.

In one photo, MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) is seen with Palestinian Legislative Council and Hamas member Abdel Aziz Dweik, who was arrested by the IDF on Thursday, as well as Miriam Salah, a former minister for women’s affairs in the Hamas government.

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Another photo showed Dweik with United Arab List- Ta’al MKs Ibrahim Sarsour and Masud Gnaim.

A UAL-Ta’al source said that this is not the first time Sarsour and Gnaim have taken pictures with Dweik, and that Sarsour has visited the Hamas official in Jerusalem several times.

Zoabi also said that the photograph, which was taken two years ago, is not unusual and was not taken during a secret meeting. She added that she does not see any problem meeting with Hamas, as they were “chosen in democratic elections and represent the Palestinian people.”

The main terrorism in the region does not come from Hamas, but from “the occupation, the Israeli army and the Shin Bet,” Zoabi added.

Israel Beiteinu MK Alex Miller slammed the Arab lawmakers for meeting with Hamas officials, saying that if they think this is part of legitimate political activity, perhaps they should be politically active in Gaza and not the Knesset.

He lamented the “absurdity” that Arab factions in the Knesset “take advantage of the democratic platform to join Israel’s worst enemies and promote armed combat against the state.”

Miller called for the MKs to be prohibited from running for the Knesset.

“Whoever is not faithful to the state should not enjoy its fruits,” he added.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that Arab legislators support of Hamas should be viewed as support of terrorism against Israeli citizens.

Hasson said he plans to ask that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein investigate the MKs’ behavior to check if they are harming the state’s security or are traitors to the state, and whether their “support of terrorist organizations” could preclude them from being Knesset members.

The photos of Zoabi, Sarsour and Gnaim were released one day after Palestinian Media Watch posted a video of MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) saying that there is “nothing more praiseworthy than being a martyr.”

The word “martyr,” shaheed in Arabic, is generally understood to mean suicide bombers; however, Tibi said he was referring to those “killed by the occupation,” including children and Land Day rioters.

Almagor, the organization for terror victims’ families, announced on Thursday night that it would “invade” the Knesset during its Open House day on February 8 to protest Tibi and Zoabi’s activities.

The organization plans to explain to those visiting the Knesset, as well as to MKs, that these lawmakers use government funds to “cross the lines into terrorist organizations.”

Almagor also sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin saying that the MKs’ identification with Hamas could increase terrorism and cost the lives of citizens and IDF soldiers.

It called for Rivlin to “raise the Knesset’s voice in a special meeting of the plenum” that would address the issue in order to defend the Knesset’s honor and that of the people of Israel.”

“First of all, be a mensch. There are some moments where you need national pride,” the letter reads.

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