(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The High Court of Justice on Wednesday rejected a petition by Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, who had called to block the Knesset from banning her for six months.
Zoabi filed the petition on October 7, calling the ban – which prevents her from engaging in any parliamentary activity other than voting – a violation of her freedom of speech.
Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which joined in filing the petition, called the court’s ruling a “dangerous precedent” and said it meant “for the first time, the court approved that the majority can sit in judgment over the minority.”
The ban on Zoabi came at the end of July, following a Knesset Ethics Committee ruling by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and other lawmakers regarding complaints of incitement. The full Knesset confirmed the decision at the end of October.
Zoabi’s punishment, the maximum the committee can give, means she may not make speeches, submit parliamentary questions, or initiate debates in committees or the plenum.
The committee had received many complaints about the Balad MK, including over her statement that the June kidnapping and murder of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer was not terrorism, and her implied support for Hamas rocket attacks on Israel during Operation Protective Edge.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein had ruled that these statements did not constitute criminal incitement.