MK Haneen Zoabi 370.
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
During the hearing, Ben-Gvir complained that the state and the
court were ignoring key evidence which proved Zoabi’s guilt.
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
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.”