Israeli Arab MK Zoabi Indicted for Insulting Police Officer as Part of Plea Deal

Zoabi charged with insulting a public servant instead of incitement to terror, MK is expected to plead guilty and pay a small fine.

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Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi attending a rally in Haifa against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, July 18, 2014, surrounded by police.
Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi attending a rally in Haifa against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, July 18, 2014. Credit: Rami Shllush

Israel's State Attorney charged MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List) with insulting a public servant rather than incitement to terror on Thursday, as part of a plea bargain reached between the Israeli Arab lawmaker and justice officials.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein agreed to the deal signed last month with Zoabi, according to which she will plead guilty and pay a fine of 500 shekels ($127).

Weinstein informed Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein two weeks ago that Zoabi, represented by Palestinian-run legal center Adalah, yielded her immunity as part of the deal. The State Attorney will seek a suspended sentence, while the defense will seek a minimal punishment.

Zoabi was accused over a year ago of calling Arab policemen "traitors" at a time when the Nazareth Magistrate's Court was holding a hearing on extending the remand of Arab suspects who had been involved in clashes with police. Likewise, Zoabi allegedly shouted to the detainees and lawyers in the courthouse hallway that the police officers were sent to eavesdrop on those present and to pass on the information.

Later, when one of the lawyers shook the hand of the police officers, Zoabi said that there is no need to shake their hands and talk to them. After that, according to the indictment, she yelled in anger in Arabic to those present to take action against the police while pointing at one of them. One of those present photographed art of the incident and publicized it on the Internet.

"We should spit in their face These are collaborators with the oppressor against my people. We need to use them to clean the floor," Zoabi is quoted as saying in the indictment. "Don't share their hand, and we won't let them be among us to scare us. And when they are in the street they should be afraid of us."