The Israeli Knesset held a vote that led to revoking the parliamentary privileges of Arab Member of Knesset, Hanin Zoabi, as a punishment for her participation in the Freedom Flotilla that was heading to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies. 34 members of Knesset voted for stripping the Arab MK of her privileges while sixteen MK’s voted against the move.
The vote is considered final as the Knesset’s House Committee recommended last week that three key privileges should be rescinded. The three privileges are her right to leave the country, diplomatic passport, and litigation fees if she faces trial.
The Arab MK said that other MK’s are punishing her out of vengeance, and that she was not surprised as Israel is a country that strips the fundamental rights of its Arab citizens, “therefore it is not surprising that Israel revokes the rights of an elected member of Knesset”.
She added that there are Israeli parliamentarians who are implementing racist laws meant to repress their Arab counterparts.
Zoabi also stated that she intends to seek legal and international aid against the new decision which she described as an act carried out by “vengeful tendencies of automatic Knesset majority”, Israel daily Haaretz, reported.
She added that this act, and the threats against elected Arab members of Knesset, are endangering democracy and coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel.
“I didn’t expect anything different, a state that imposes a criminal siege on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, deprives them from their basic rights, would not hesitate in revoking parliamentary privileges of elected officials”, Zoabi said, “but this is a new and a serious precedent in the way Israel deals with the Arabs and their legitimate leadership, this falls under Israel’s ongoing prosecution of elected Arab leaders and officials”.
Head of the Knesset Committee, Yariv Levin, claimed that the statements of Zoabi and her participation with the Freedom Flotilla harmed Israel’s security.
Levin added that Arab legislators abused their privileges and met with the Libyan president Qaddafi, and claimed that Zoabi “does not deserve to be a legislator and does not deserve to bear an Israeli ID card”.
Israel considers any attempt to break its illegal siege on more than 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza as an act that harms its security and as an act that shows support to the Hamas movement.
Hundreds of patients died due to the siege imposed on Gaza while hundreds could face the same fate as Gaza hospitals and medical centers run out of basic supplies.
Although Israel claimed it would allow urgent humanitarian supplies into Gaza, the situation remains dire and far from any positive development.