(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) is a danger to the State of Israel, MK Danny Danon (Likud) said on Tuesday, as he began collecting signatures to bar her from running in the March election.
According to Basic Law: The Knesset, a list or an individual candidate cannot run for the Knesset “if the goals of actions of the list or person support armed combat of an enemy state or terrorist organization against the State of Israel.”
“There is no doubt that there is more than enough to clearly prove [Zoabi’s] teachings are extremist and dangerous to the State of Israel,” Danon said.
The Likud lawmaker pointed out that during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, a Hamas spokesman said he saluted Zoabi for standing with the Palestinians and called for other Arab politicians to follow her example.
“As such, it is clear to all that the State of Israel must defend itself and prevent MK Zoabi from running for the 20th Knesset,” Danon said.
He must collect the signatures of one-third of the Central Election Committee, which is made up of MKs, to hold a vote on banning Zoabi from running. The petition cannot be submitted until after the lists are submitted to the committee at the end of January.
Danon’s camp, however, has reason to be concerned the petition will be rejected by Central Election Committee chairman Justice Salim Joubran, as a source close to the Likud MK pointed out that he was the only Supreme Court justice to accept Zoabi’s recent appeal against the Knesset Ethics Committee banning her from all legislative activity except voting for six months.
The Ethics Committee ban came after Zoabi said June’s kidnapping of teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer, later found slain, was not terrorism, and her support for Hamas rocket attacks on Israel during Operation Protective Edge. She also wrote an article on a Hamas website in which she encouraged Palestinians to take part in “popular resistance” and called to “put Israel under siege instead of negotiating.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told the panel that many citizens had appealed to him to take action against Zoabi because of “her statements bordering on incitement, encouraging violence and supporting terrorism.”
The Balad legislator has a long history of controversial activity in and out of the Knesset, including participation in the 2010 Gaza protest flotilla on the infamous Mavi Marmara, which was stopped by Israel Navy commandos.
In 2011, the Ethics Committee banned her from the Knesset for two months after she physically attacked an usher who tried to remove her from the plenum for incessantly interrupting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who had referred to her in his speech.