Zoabi: Police is persecuting me for political views

Lahav 433 investigators say there is evidence Balad MK incited violence against Israeli-Arab police officers; Danon: Ban her from leaving country so she doesn't run away to Qatar.

Haneen Zoabi (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Haneen Zoabi
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) claimed she is being politically persecuted after police recommended she be indicted for inciting against, threatening and insulting a public servant Tuesday.
Zoabi said that the recommendation to indict her was not because of anything she did but because of “the wartime atmosphere, which is racist and fascist and impacts all of the authorities in Israel.”
The Balad MK expressed hope that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein will “show good judgment and not accept the police’s stance.”
“If I am put on trial, I will turn it into the most political trial in the history of the State of Israel.
I am being put on trial for a tiny, insignificant thing, while ministers and MKs who incited to racism and violence and even murder are not investigated,” she added.
Zoabi plans to complain to foreign embassies, human rights organizations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union that she is being “persecuted for legitimate political opinions.”
The recommendation to the attorney-general came after Lahav 433 – the National Crime Unit – finished probing an incident in July in which, according to the Attorney-General’s Office, Zoabi called Israeli-Arab police officers traitors, implied threats against them and told a protesting crowd to spit in their faces.
“We should clean the floor with those who are collaborators working against their own people,” Zoabi said of the Israeli- Arab police officers at the time. “They should be afraid of our young people.”
Zoabi missed two dates for questioning, with her lawyers saying she wasn’t given sufficient information on the allegations, but she appeared on the third date last week and was interrogated for five hours.
Following the investigation, Lahav 433 concluded that there is enough evidence against Zoabi to indict her for the suspected crimes. The Attorney- General’s Office will make the final decision as to whether to accept the recommendation.
The police decision comes a day after Balad admitted that its three MKs visited its party’s founder, fugitive former MK Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel in 2007 as he was being investigated for giving information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.
Zoabi is also three weeks into a six-month ban by the Knesset Ethics Committee from all parliamentary activity except for voting, a punishment for her expressing support on more than one occasion for Hamas attacks on Israel.
On Tuesday, Zoabi called her ban from the Knesset “scandalous and unprecedented,” in light of the fact that Weinstein said she did not break the law.
However, Weinstein said that only about comments Zoabi made saying that the kidnapping of three teenage boys in Gush Etzion was not terrorism, and he also said that just because they are not criminal does not mean they do not violate the Knesset’s ethical code.
Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum said “Zoabi’s incitement and actions against the State of Israel are clear to all. Every sane democracy must defend itself against those who take advantage of it to harm it. I hope the court will do justice with her.”
Kirschenbaum vowed to promote legislation to take away the citizenship of lawmakers who incite to violence and terrorism against the State of Israel.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said he is sure law enforcement authorities will do justice with Zoabi.
“She belongs in jail and not in the Knesset. The time has come for this disgrace, in which a Hamas representative sits in the Knesset, to stop,” Danon said.
The Likud MK called for police to issue an order prohibiting Zoabi from leaving the country, so that she doesn’t run away to Qatar with Bishara.
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Zoabi should be put on trial for treason, not just for minor crimes, and that justice will be done only when Balad MKs are out of the Knesset.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) thanked the police for investigating Zoabi and said she is pleased that it found enough evidence against her to indict her.
“Today the message is clearer than ever: Even MKs are not above the law,” Regev stated.
“We should remove [parliamentary] immunity from those who associate with terrorist leaders and traitors like Azmi Bishara.”
MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) said “politicians say words of incitement and slander, but the police are only interested in Haneen Zoabi. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman incites against Israeli Arabs, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett is proud that he ‘killed many Arabs,’ Regev calls MKs ‘terrorists,’ but the police only wants to indict Haneen Zoabi.”
“Instead of enforcing the law equally, the police is following the public atmosphere and acting like a chapter of Yisrael Beytenu, the party that controls the Public Security Ministry and apparently the police as well,” Frej said.