Israel Police Recommend Indicting MK Zoabi for Incitement

Balad MK defends her 'kidnappers not terrorists' comments, saying she's simply 'fighting against oppression and for justice.'

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Israeli Arab lawmaker Haneen Zoabi speaks at a news conference in Jerusalem, December 19, 2012.
Israeli Arab lawmaker Haneen Zoabi speaks at a news conference in Jerusalem, December 19, 2012. Credit: Reuters

Police recommended Monday investigating MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) for incitement over her statement that the kidnapping of three Israeli teens from a West Bank hitchhiking post isn’t terrorism.

The final decision on whether to open a probe will be made by the Attorney General’s Office. Police said they have given the office all the relevant material, along with their recommendation to indict, which was first reported by Yedioth Ahronoth.

Zoabi said in response, “I didn’t violate any law. On the contrary, I’m fulfilling my moral, human and political obligation – to fight against oppression and for justice.

“There is no law that prevents the expression of a sincere opinion, however harsh and upsetting it may be,” she continued. “I represent 100,000 people who voted for me. I represent the positions of most of [Israel’s] Arab citizens, and also of Jewish Israelis who believe a human being has value because he is a human being."

In a radio interview last week, Zoabi caused an uproar when she said the kidnappers of the three yeshiva students “aren’t terrorists. Even if I do not agree with them, they are people who do not see any way to change their reality, and they are compelled to use means like these until Israel wakes up and sees the suffering, feels the suffering of the other.”

Following that interview, she received death threats and the Knesset assigned her a bodyguard.

“I’m doing what the opposition is supposed to do,” Zoabi said yesterday. “You’ve forgotten something: I’m a Palestinian. I fulfill my public mission and express my views without fear. Investigation and threats of punishment won’t deter me. In my battle for a just peace, I will make no compromises with the occupation and its representatives.

“You ought to put [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu on trial for the crimes of the occupation and violating international law, not me,” she concluded. “I’m prepared for any fair trial, on condition that the truly responsible, aggressive and violent party be punished.”

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