Zoabi 'attack' episode ends with apology

MK apologizes after she is accused of attacking usher charged with removing her from chamber; Knesset workers union: Apology ends affair.

Balad MK haneen zuabi 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerzolomiski [file])
Balad MK haneen zuabi 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerzolomiski [file])
MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) received sanctions from the Knesset Ethics Committee for participating in last year’s flotilla to the Gaza Strip, but she apparently won’t be punished for shoving a Knesset usher last Wednesday.
The Knesset House Committee convened Tuesday to consider recommending sanctions for the incident when Zoabi resisted a female usher who was trying to remove her from the Knesset plenum for going too far in heckling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
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A majority of the MKs in the House Committee said they were satisfied with Zoabi’s repeated apologies, which she delivered personally to the usher in the Knesset, in multiple media interviews and in a letter she wrote to the usher and the committee.
“I didn’t intend to push or harm you,” she wrote the usher. “I respect you and your work. I apologized in the press at my own volition without anyone have to tell me to.”
Zoabi did not attend the committee meeting, but she told the Knesset Channel that she was merely trying to leave the plenum unassisted when the usher’s body got in the way of her raised hand.
She noted it was the first time she was ever thrown out of the plenum, while other Arab MKs are expelled regularly.
MKs Einat Wilf (Independence), Avraham Michaeli (Shas) and Kadima MKs Shlomo Molla, Otniel Schneller and Doron Avital accepted Zoabi’s explanation. Only MKs Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) and Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) called for Zoabi to be punished.
“Zoabi attempted to bring the violent atmosphere of the Mavi Marmara to the Knesset plenum,” Miller said.
“She acted violently and brutally against the usher, so she should be indicted for the crime of attacking a policeman in the line of duty.”
The committee issued a statement praising the ushers for their work and warning MKs to treat all Knesset employees, especially ushers, with the utmost respect.
Knesset Workers Union Haim Ayavi and Knesset Guard commander Yosef Griff said they viewed Zoabi’s apologies as the end of the episode.
But MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who is a member of the Knesset Ethics Committee, said Zoabi may still be punished by the committee for the incident.