Hanin Zoabi calls IDF soldiers murderers, shouting and commotion on the floor
Knesset Channel, Jun 29 2016
Complete chaos in the Knesset when MK Zoabi gives speech about Gaza flotilla, leads to a near brawl.
Netanyahu vows to work to oust Israeli Arab MK who called soldiers murderers
Jonathan Lis, Haaretz, Jun 29 2016
Following a stormy Knesset session that resulted in MK Hanin Zoabi’s removal from the plenum on Wednesday, Netanyahu said that he is working to advance her expulsion from the legislature. A clash broke out at the Knesset plenum on Wednesday when Zoabi (Joint List) called IOF who participated in the takeover of the 2010 Gaza flotilla “murderers.” Her comments took place during a session on the reconciliation agreement with Turkey, formally announced a day earlier. Netanyahu said:
I spoke again this evening with the attorney general to consider advancing the process of expelling Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset. In her actions and her lies, she’s crossed every line and she has no place in the Knesset.
Coalition members assessed Wednesday evening that the clash with Zoabi in the Knesset would give strong tailwind to move forward with the so-called suspension bill, giving it a substantial push before the end of the summer session. In an unusual occurrence, the bill, which would allow the Knesset to remove a sitting MK, is being led by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset. The committee is expected to renew discussions on the subject next week. Meanwhile, the Ethics Committee is expected to severely punish Zoabi in the next few days. Two MKs, Nahman Shai (Zionist Union) and Amir Ohana (Likud) have already submitted complaints against her to the committee that is authorized to punish MKs over their conduct. At the plenum, Zoabi said:
I stood here six years ago, some of you remember the hatred and hostility toward me, and look where we got to. Apologies to the families of those who were called terrorists. The nine that were killed, it turns out that their families need to be compensated. I demand an apology to all the political activists who were on the Marmara and an apology to MK Hanin Zoabi, who you’ve incited against for six years. I demand compensation and I will donate it to the next flotilla. As long as there’s a siege, more flotillas need to be organized.
Turkey and Israel reconciled on Tuesday after a six-year rift. The agreement renormalizes diplomatic relations between the two countries and ends the crisis that erupted following the death of nine Turkish civilians during a raid by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza Strip in May 2010, on which Zoabi was also present. Coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud) also endorsed expelling Zoabi from the Knesset. He said:
We need to all unify, regardless of politics, to remove only one MK from the Knesset. MK Hanin Zoabi. We need to do so even if it will be a specific law for that MK.
He added that he intends to suggest to Netanyahu to exchange the law to expel incumbent MKs for a law that will lead only to Zoabi’s expulsion. A bill to depose MKs who have expressed support of terror or racism, or who have voiced opposition to Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state, is currently being advanced in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Wednesday’s incident wasn’t Zoabi’s first controversy. As well as participating in the 2010 Gaza flotilla, which resulted in clashes with the IDF, Zoabi came under fire for suggesting in 2014 that the Palestinian kidnappers of three Israeli teens who were then murdered were not terrorists. At the time of Zoabi’s comments, the fate of the three teens was not yet known. She was then suspended from addressing the Knesset plenum and committees for six months. Last January, Zoabi was convicted of insulting a public servant for making offensive remarks to Arab policemen in a Nazareth courthouse in 2014. In February, the Knesset suspended Zoabi, as well as fellow Joint List MKs Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka, for their meeting with the families of slain Palestinian terrorists. The lawmakers were barred from attending the Knesset plenum, but were still able to vote.
All hell breaks loose in Knesset as Zoabi demands apology following Israel-Turkey agreement
Allison Deger, MondoWeiss, Jun 30 2016
Israel’s parliament sank into bedlam yesterday as the Joint List’s Hanin Zoabi addressed the recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey over the flotilla raid and demanded an apology for a 2010 session in Knesset where Zoabi was shouted down as a “terrorist” for her comments on the deadly attack. This time, members of government once again jumped out of their seats, with more than a dozen rushing towards Zoabi, yelling “terrorist” to which she responded, “hit me!” An official in the Zoabi’s faction described the scene as the most volatile inside of the Knesset halls in recent memory. He said:
Everyone who works there was really shook up, they really thought there would be a riot. The chaos in the end involved everyone.
A video of the hearing shows security intervening, yet unable to control the room. Several MKs are recorded approaching Zoabi, shouting “filth” and “terrorist.” Zoabi was on stage during the bulk of the upheaval. She was giving an address in a plenary hearing on the recent agreement between Israel and Turkey. According to a copy of her speech released by her party, Zoabi said today:
Israel did not disengage from Gaza. Israel cut off Gaza from the world and life.
Zoabi then honed in on her peers, demanding they apologize for a 2010 cantankerous session in Knesset where Zoabi was shouted down as a “terrorist” for her comments on the deadly raid. Zoabi was one of the passengers aboard the aid vessels. While Zoabi’s speech began with a calm audience, until Oren Hazan (Likud) interrupted, as quoted by Arutz Sheva:
You’re the nation’s inciter! You’re the most dangerous! You support terror, you hypocrite! Go to Gaza!
I want an apology, and I want compensation, and I will contribute it to the children of Gaza, and the next flotillas.
Your friends are murderers! You’re complicit in terrorism! You’ve got some nerve! Time’s up! You don’t use that podium to speak against IDF soldiers!
You committed murder! Murderers! Shut up!
Rapidly other politicians joined, some to Zoabi’s defense. Zoabi and Aliza Lavie from the Yesh Atid faction exchanged words over a cacophony of insults, with Zoabi baiting:
Come and hit me, Aliza! Come and hit me!
At least four MKs were escorted out of the room. Following the outbursts, several current and former members of government not present for the disarray weighed in over social media. Former head of Israel’s intelligence service Avi Dichter said of Zoabi over social media:
She’s not even worthy of being a lion’s food in a circus!
Former Ambassador Michael Oren wrote:
MK Zoabi calls IDF soldiers murderers and we still pay her salary? If she were in Congress she’d be expelled at once!
To which he received several responses on Pindo history and the basic tenets of democracy:
MK Ofir Akunis told YNet News:
Hanin Zoabi is a terrorist! A terrorist! We are proud of our soldiers! We salute our soldiers! We are proud of the force that gained control of the Marmara and prevented the breach of the blockade on Gaza, and with the agreement, the blockade on Gaza will continue.
The official from the Joint Arab List told MondoWeiss:
The easiest way to get some love from your right-wing base is to stage a fight with an Arab MK.
A similar outburst in Knesset took place in 2010 following the Israeli raid of the flotilla headed towards Gaza. Zoabi was again speaking on stage when the disruption ensued. At that time she called for an international investigation into Israel’s shootings of the Turkish nationals. While talking, her peers accused her of being a “terrorist” and harbouring knives. Referring to that incident while speaking this morning, Zoabi said Israel’s payout to Turkey was vindicated the statements she made six years ago to Knesset. She said today:
The real criminals are those who turned the Gaza Strip into a prison! A prison where every day there is no stable electricity, and no clean water!
Unlawful and brutal attack on Turkish boat improves with age in the NYT
Phil Weiss, Donald Johnson, MondoWeiss, Jun 29 2016
In a write-up of Israeli responses to the deal with Turkey this week, NYT reporter Isabel Kershner basically justifies the killings of ten activists on the Turkish boat the Mavi Marmara in 2010. That’s a pattern with the NYT, wait long enough and something controversial that happened in the past will be written up entirely in Israel’s favour.
Israel agreed to pay about $20m in compensation to the families of 10 pro-Palestinian< activists who were killed during a 2010 raid by Israeli naval commandos after they met violent resistance aboard a Turkish passenger vessel as it tried to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
There is no sense here that the Israelis boarded a ship bringing aid to Gaza in international waters, at night, with masked commandos dropped from helicopters. The UN said that the flotilla was travelling to Gaza because it was (and is) experiencing a humanitarian crisis, that the attack was “clearly unlawful,” and that six of the ten victims were summarily executed. And if there was violent resistance, it was of an improvised variety. The Guardian quoted a passenger saying:
People picked up what they could to defend themselves against armed, masked commandos who were shooting.
The UNHRC also said (in a report unassisted by the Israelis):
The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality.
Kershner gives the views of Israelis who think this was a surrender to Hamas. Israeli Jewish views from right to far right are given. Nothing from the Israeli human rights groups. Later there is a brief mention of the blockade, in a quote from Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya. And one sentence saying:
In Gaza, there was a sense that the deal offered some hope but fell short of what Hamas wanted.
In short, the suffering caused by the blockade to Gazans doesn’t matter enough to treat in its own right. Instead, Kershner sees it as something that hurts Hamas and something that Hamas wants lifted. Palestinians and their demands to be treated as though their basic rights mattered are seen by Kershner only in terms of what Hamas wants. That’s how you justify the blockade. While there are repeated references by name to the Israelis whose bodies are being held in Gaza since the 2014 conflict, there is no mention of the ten Turkish victims of the commando attack by name. So six years later the NYT will totally adopt the Israeli version of events if they think they can get away with it. Is this a conscious decision or just how they think? It hardly matters in the end.