Zoabi to appear before UN flotilla probe

Balad MK slams gov't's "pirate assault" on Gaza blockade runner.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 30, 2010 19:17
2 minute read.
BALAD MK, Haneen Zoabi

BaladMKHaneenZoabi311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) is expected to testify on Tuesday morning before a UN committee probing the May 31 Gaza flotilla raid.

She promised on Monday that she would call on the panel to take Israeli leaders to task in international courts for their part in the incident that left nine Turkish activists dead and 10 IDF soldiers wounded.

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Zoabi left Israel on Monday evening for Amman, to testify before the UN Human Rights Commission’s investigative committee, as part of a delegation from the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, whose members participated in the flotilla.

The only committee member who participated in the flotilla and was not expected to join his comrades in Amman was Sheikh Raed Salah, who is serving a fivemonth sentence in Ayalon Prison for attacking a policeman in 2007.

Zoabi was expected to testify on Tuesday morning, and said on Monday she planned to demand that the UN committee question Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi for “their personal responsibility for the criminal and pirate seizure of the Freedom Flotilla.”

She planned to ask that the committee recommend that the Israeli leadership stand trial in an international court.

Zoabi will also ask that the panel expand its scope to “investigate Israel’s violations of international law in placing the blockade on Gaza, including war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been carried out by Israel in Gaza throughout the past four years.”

The freshman MK, who leaped onto the headlines through her participation in the flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara, said that she also “demanded that Barak allow the committee to question the soldiers who participated in the seizure of the flotilla,” and that she sent a letter to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich demanding that “he allow Salah to testify before the UN committee, even from prison, and to release his personal diary in which he documented at the time the events on the Mavi Marmara’s decks.”

She added that she “hopes in the name of the families of the victims and the participants in the flotilla and all of the forces of justice in the world that the committee will investigate honestly and fairly, and will not surrender to the pressures that Israel usually places.”

Later on Monday evening, the Almagor terror victims group sent an urgent missive to the Knesset Ethics Committee demanding that it address Zoabi’s recent actions.

The letter, signed by Almagor chairman Meir Indor, asked that the UN panel suspend Zoabi from serving as an MK and strip her of her parliamentary immunity.

“We call on the Knesset to strip her immunity and demand that she be tried for conspiring against the state and its legal authorities,” Almagor wrote in its letter to Ethics Committee chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich (Labor).

The NGO cited Zoabi’s decision to turn to The Hague to air her complaints as a way of undermining Israel’s own legal system “and an attempt to place upon Israel’s citizens and service people another judicial system that is frequently hostile.”

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