High Court hears petition to criminally charge Zoabi for Mavi Marmara flotilla involvement

Ben Gvir: We represent the nation of Israel against Zoabi; Zoabi, after being accosted again says "they should be in jail, not me."

October 9, 2013 18:12
2 minute read.
MK Haneen Zoabi .

MK Haneen Zoabi 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)


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The High Court of Justice heard right-wing activists Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir petition on Wednesday to indict MK Haneen Zoabi for her involvement in the May 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla.

The state had previously announced that it had closed its investigation against her and would not file any indictment.

Because of Zoabi’s involvement as a passenger in the flotilla, the Central Elections Committee tried to disqualify her from running in recent Knesset elections. But the High Court overruled the committee by a vote of 9-0, and reinstated Zoabi as a candidate for the Knesset, saying there was no evidence that she had known anything about the violent terrorists in the flotilla.

The High Court’s premise was that most of the flotilla passengers, while violating Israel’s blockade of Hamas, had not taken any formal violent action, leaving it no basis to secondguess the state as to whether to prosecute Zoabi or any other passengers.

Wednesday’s hearing started with aggressive debate between Ben-Gvir and the court over the impact of its prior Zoabi ruling.

Ben-Gvir said that the court’s decision “stoked public criticism, which I assume you heard.”

Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis responded: “Sir, you assume that we read the newspapers.”

Ben-Gvir said, “I heard the public, I assume that you heard them. I am ready to speak on behalf of the nation of Israel.”

Justice Neal Hendel retorted, “if you, sir, want to speak on behalf of the nation of Israel, you need to speak to many more parts of it in order to cover its scope.”

During the hearing, Ben-Gvir complained that the state and the court were ignoring key evidence which proved Zoabi’s guilt.

The state responded that the evidence was weak, and that it would have been better if there was not a public inquiry into the specifics of the state’s decision, but that the state had produced its reasons for viewing the evidence as weak after an earlier court order, and that its production should end the matter.

Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, who represented Zoabi in the hearing, told the court that the petition must be dismissed because the High Court itself had essentially already decided that Zoabi had committed no crime when it allowed her to run for reelection.

After the hearing, Zoabi sent out a press release stating that the right-wing activists had verbally and physically accosted her and her supporters, the second time such an incident occurred after a High Court hearing involving Zoabi.

She responded by saying that the right-wing activists “should be in jail” for their incitement, “and not me.”

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