Israel Police Won't Probe Israeli Arab MK Zoabi for Kidnapping Statements

Deputy AG says Arab MK expressed ambivalence about, not support for abduction of three Jewish teens in the West Bank.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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MK Haneen Zoabi, center, at a demonstration against Operation Protective Edge in Haifa, July 18, 2014.
MK Haneen Zoabi, center, at a demonstration against Operation Protective Edge in Haifa, July 18, 2014. Credit: Rami Shllush
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri told the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee that police would not investigate MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) for her statements praising the kidnappers and Hamas for the abduction of three Jewish boys, who were murdered in June.

“We examined Zoabi’s statements meticulously and found that on the one hand, Zoabi said she did not see the kidnappers as a terrorist group, but on the other, she expressed reservations about the kidnapping,” said Nizri. “This creates a difficulty in seeing the statements as incitement to commit kidnapping.”

Nizri announced his decision after the attorney general permitted police to begin another criminal investigation against Zoabi just two days ago for insulting Arab police officers in a Nazareth court. The Attorney General is also looking into other complaints against Zoabi following an article she published recently.

Nizri and Maj. Gen. Meni Yitzhaki, head of the police’s Investigations and Intelligence Unit, attended Monday’s Knesset committee meeting on incitement by MKs and private citizens related to the fighting in the south. Leftists and rightists aliked complained that the police and the State Prosecutor’s Office are helpless in dealing with the incitement. Arab MKs, embroiled in the conflict over the right to make controversial statements over the fighting in Gaza, did not attend.

Committee chairwoman MK Miri Regev (Likud) criticized their absence. “Zoabi is not here because she is with the new flotilla to Gaza,” she said. “I brought her water wings to help her get there.” Regev advocated imprisonment for Zoabi.

“As the committee in charge of the Prisons Service, we’d be glad to visit her in several installations where she would be staying,” she said.

Yitzhaki said police were looking into dozens of offensive statements made on the Internet “since the operation began because of the technological difficulty involved in contacting the companies, which operate in foreign countries.”

Yitzhaki denied reports that Zoabi had refused her summons to police questioning yesterday, saying, “We will set a date for questioning with MK Zoabi that is convenient for us.”

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) asked Yitzhaki whether “an investigation has been launched against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and against MK Ayelet Shaked, who wrote a column on her Facebook page inciting against an entire people and calling, among other things, for the murder of women.”

MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) criticized the police’s actions at the left-wing demonstrations last week, saying, “When the demonstration in Tel Aviv broke up, the police did not guard all the dispersion points properly. Several demonstrators were set upon with clubs, and some were hurt. When people in Tel Aviv choose to wear the shirts of neo-Nazi groups in Europe, with their logos, they’re not just wearing them, but they also behave like neo-Nazis. They do not just talk. They beat people up, too.”

Gabriel Nadaf, the head of a group that advocates Christian enlistment in the army, said the State Prosecutor’s Office had not updated him about how it had dealt with a series of complaints he had filed regarding attacks against him and against young men who had enlisted in the army under his organization’s sponsorship. Several days ago, he filed a complaint against someone who called for the murder of Col. Ghassan Alian for his involvement in the fighting in Gaza. In another case, a young Arab woman was beaten on a street in Nazareth.

“The State Prosecutor’s Office is not answering or dealing with cases that were opened following our complaints of incitement against Christians who enlisted in the army or members of our organization,” Nadaf said.

Maj. Gen. Yitzhaki said the police’s cyber team was working on finding the person suspected of having called for the murder of Col. Ghassan Alian, the Golani Brigade commander.

Sarah Zoabi – the mother of Mohammed Zoabi, a relative of MK Haneen Zoabi who spoke out on Facebook against the kidnappers of the three boys – said during the meeting that her son had fled to a safe house abroad after receiving death threats. “My son dared to express his feelings toward the Jews who had been kidnapped,” she said. “As a mother, I am proud of him. I received many threats. One reporter wrote that my son should be kidnapped and raped. With all due respect, I am not impressed with the Israel Police. I am disappointed. They wait until something happens, and only then do they get involved.”

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