'I am not a Zionist, I am a Palestinian and a citizen'

Balad MK Zoabi slams Israeli gov't's characterization of UN flotilla report as "not objective", calls 'Mavi Marmara' passengers "peace activists."

September 24, 2010 21:25
2 minute read.
Balad MK Hanin Zoabi

hanin zoabi looking crazy 311. (photo credit: AP)


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MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) stridently attacked the Israeli government's characterization of UN human rights reports as "not objective" in a contentious interview with Yair Lapid on his Channel 2 news program Ulpan Shishi Friday night.

Zoabi claimed during the interview that IDF's boarding of the Mavi Marmara in international waters was illegal and contrary to international law. She also maintained that there was no plan for activists to attack the IDF soldiers and that she, along with the activists around her, had been surprised that the IDF actually sent commandos to board the ship.

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She also defended her participation in the Free Gaza flotilla and expressed surprise at what she termed the "racist" reaction many Israeli politicians and the public had towards her participation.

"I am honest to my identity and to my citizenship. I am not a Zionist," said Zoabi. "I am a an Arab, a Palestinian and a citizen."

When asked by Yair Lapid, whether she considered her fellow passengers on the Mavi Marmara peace activists, Zoabi responded, "Definitely."

Zoabi demands state prosecute IDF soldiers

On Wednesday, three UN-appointed human rights experts announced their findings, stating that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and killed nine activists earlier this year.

The UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission concluded that the naval blockade of Gaza was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and described the military raid on the flotilla as brutal and disproportionate.

After the report was released on Wednesday evening, Zoabi lauded the findings of the panel and was keen to praise the "professionalism and fairness in [the Human Rights Council's fact finding mission's] efforts to reveal the truth." She also called on Israel to move forward with the findings of the panel and to indict the Israeli citizens responsible for the Mavi Marmara boarding operation.

"We must not settle for declarations of condemnation but we must work to put the criminals to justice, those who ordered and those who carried out the orders," Zoabi said.

She added, "All attempts of character assassination will not make Israel appear innocent."

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