Balad MK haneen zuabi 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerzolomiski [file])
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin acceded
on Wednesday to a request by Balad MK Haneen Zuabi, who had been on one of the
Gaza-bound flotilla ships, and wished to make a personal statement. After
the debate, Rivlin invited Zuabi to make her statement.
Her statement followed a heated Knesset debate about the IDF
flotilla raid. The debate,
which at times verged in a brawl, was brought to an end when
Deputy Defense Minister, MK Matan Vilnai proposed that the debate be
moved to the foreign affairs committee as it was "serving no useful
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The invitation to Zuabi, led
to a breakout of fierce verbal altercations, resulting in the ejection
of Kadima MK Eli Aflalo, Balad MK Jamal Zahalka and Israel Beiteinu MK
Several more MKs were ejected during Zuabi's
speech. Ironically some of the ejected MKs subsequently returned to the
chamber, continuing to cause a commotion and receiving further verbal
warnings from Rivlin.
Referring to the earlier debate, Zuabi said
she was "astonished by the incitement and despised the words she had
She said that she had agreed to participate in the
flotilla as it was a "political human and moral 'mitzva' to oppose the
imprisonment of 1.5 million people."
She described the blockade
of Gaza as an "illegal, inhuman, illegitimate siege opposed by every
politician who has a moral position... ...only the immoral support the
Zuabi described the raid on the flotilla as a
"pirate operation that was criminal and against international law."
attacked the film of the raid that the IDF released: "Why does the
Israeli government oppose an inquiry? Why does it oppose revealing the
truth? Why did you take journalists' cameras? Why did you only publish
the pictures linked to the IDF operation, Why didn't you publicize film
of the ten men who died?."
She criticized those attacking her,
saying "Who is the criminal? Did I murder anyone?".
point an MK shouted "check if she has a knife" resulting in uproar.
after this Knesset speaker Rivlin ended the debate, saying Zuabi had
been given ample time to make her statement.
After the debate a bodyguard was detailed to protect Zuabi, both inside and outside the Knesset.
Speaking in the
angry debate that took place prior to Zuabi's statement, MK Arieh Eldad
(National Union) called Israeli Arabs "enemies of
Israel", Kadima MK Yulia Shamalov Berkovitz said the Arab parties'
Knesset members were "parliamentary spies".
Israel Beiteinu MK
David Rotem said that "Arab MKs do not represent the Arab citizens, they
represent terror organizations in Gaza."
Rotem went on to
suggest that Arab Israelis "look up at the observation decks and see a
model for behavior" they should emulate. The observation deck was lined
with Druze elders.
At the other end of the spectrum, MK Dov
Henin (Hadash) said that the debate was "A low point in the history of
Henin went on to warn of the consequences of the
blockade, saying, "Gaza will not go away even if you close your eyes."