Israel Police Recommends Putting Arab Knesset Member on Trial

MK Haneen Zoabi being investigated after apparently calling Arab police officers in a Nazareth courtroom 'collaborators.'

Ilan Lior
Jack Khoury
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Hanin ZoabiCredit: Gil Eliahu
Ilan Lior
Jack Khoury

The Israel Police recommended Tuesday putting MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) on trial for inciting to violence, making threats and insulting a public servant.

Zoabi apparently insulted Arab policemen in a Nazareth courthouse.

She was interrogated for five hours by the 433 Unit last week. Police concluded thereafter that they had enough information to put her on trial.

Zoabi is suspected of raging against Arab policemen in the courthouse, calling them "collaborators" and saying that "those who collaborate with the oppressor against their people" should be used "to wipe the floor."

She also said they should be afraid of the Shabab, referring to militant youths and that people should "spit in their face."

Some 10 right-wing extremists, among them Itamar Ben Gvir, were awaiting Zoabi when she arrived at the police station. They shouted derogatory slogans at her and confronted police.

After leaving the police station, Zoabi said the investigation was superfluous.
"It's a fact they did not catch me for the many accusations of incitement in the case that the attorney general decided to close, so they thought they would catch me on an extremely marginal incident in court," she said.

"Let them compare the things I said in court to the dozens of declarations made by various Knesset members and ministers. Let them compare my words to the violent and wild incitement by Lieberman, who called for murdering and killing Haneen Zoabi, that judgment for Haneen Zoabi should be the same as that for the kidnappers."

Zoabi also said that she filed dozens of complaints with the police regarding direct incitement against her as well as incitement to harm and kill her, but that the police never saw it fit to open an investigation about them.

"I am prepared for court, and do not fear indictment," she said. "In this racist country, there are those who rule and those, who want to protect democracy and the right to protest, find themselves under investigation."

"The decision is not the result of my investigation, in which I answered in detail all the allegations against me, but rather of a warlike, racist and fascist atmosphere casting a shadow on Israeli authorities," commented MK Zoabi. "It was the same with the scandalous and unprecedented decision to expel me from the Knesset for six months for things that I said in the course of fulfilling my duty, about which the attorney general explicitly determined not to constitute an infraction of the law."

Zoabi added that she hoped the attorney general would use his senses and reject the police's position. "However, if I am tried I intend to turn the hearings into the most political trial in Israel's history" she said. "They are trying me for a minor and meaningless matter, while ministers and MKs incite to racism and incite to violence and even murder, and they are not investigated, even after complaints are filed against them."

Zoabi announced that she intends to turn to foreign embassies, human rights organizations and to the Inter-Parliamentary Union and file an official complaint of political persecution of legitimate political positions.

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