Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Joint List organized an event in the Knesset on Tuesday protesting the banning of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch.
Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad), commented at the event that “Netanyahu has lost control and is looking for enemies [upon whom] to take revenge.” This “fascist atmosphere allows him to push the Palestinians into a corner, hoping to control them,” she said.
Zoabi also accused Netanyahu’s government of seeking “to use the world’s paranoia over Islamic State to suppress a legitimate political struggle.” This ban of the Islamic Movement “will not weaken or deter us in our struggle,” she declared. “It will make us stronger.”
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash), who also attended the event, told The Jerusalem Post, “Netanyahu’s step has united our community against his policies.” The Arabs are therefore seeking national unity to counter “this attack against our basic political freedoms,” he said. “Everybody here feels threatened by these draconian policies and we are very concerned for the future.”
MKs, lawyers, and members of the public attended the event.
Joint List MK Jamal Zahalka, head of the Balad party, mentioned data from a report in the Post on Monday, that the closure of a charity linked to the outlawed movement in Jaffa has left 500 needy families bereft of welfare benefits.
The Jaffa Association for Charity has been shut since the security cabinet’s November 17 designation of the Islamic group as illegal, leaving families they assist with no support, Islamic Movement member Mahmoud Abeed, a former head of the charity, had said.
“The checks have stopped. The government seized the money and closed the office,” Abeed, editor of the Yaffa48 website, also associated with the outlawed Islamic group, said.
Zahalka mentioned that social workers working for the state had been referring people to the charity until it was closed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended outlawing the group for acting to undermine Israel, inciting violence, cooperating closely with Hamas and seeking to replace Israel with a caliphate.
“We have nothing against Islam,” Netanyahu said. “We have nothing against the Muslim citizens of Israel, who enjoy full equal rights, and the vast majority of whom are law abiding citizens. But we will continue to act against inciters and those who encourage terrorism.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.