MK Hanin Zoabi has warned of a possible third Arab intifada.
In an interview that appeared on Sunday in the British newspaper The Guardian, Zoabi said that if Israel continues to push its Arab citizens into a corner, it could ignite a third intifada.
While she rejected the idea that Israel’s Arab citizens are supporters of violence, Zoabi was quoted in The Guardian as saying: "We accepted a democratic, liberal state, we voted for the Knesset. But we are not just an internal issue – we are the litmus test of the whole problem. If Israel does not recognise this, conditions will deteriorate towards a third intifada."
Zoabi recently came under heavy criticism following her participation in the Gaza aid flotilla. Zoabi was a passenger aboard the Mavi Marmara, a ship that carried members of the Turkish terrorist front group IHH, and did not carry humanitarian aid. The ship was raided on May 31 by IDF forces who were attacked by its passengers as they attempted to board. Soldiers opened fire in response, killing nine Turkish citizens.
Following the incident, Zoabi gave media interviews in which she accused Israel of failing to provide wounded activists with medical attention, and referred to the blockade of Hamas and the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria as “the big crime of Israel.” She also stated that she was “not at all” sorry for having participated in the flotilla, and would do it again. In the interview which appeared in The Guardian, Zoabi reiterated her thoughts and said: “Israel wants us to break the law and we won't. I did not break any laws by being on the Mavi Marmara."
As a result of her participation in the flotilla, the Knesset voted on July 13 to strip Zoabi of three privileges: the use of a diplomatic passport, government participation in legal fees, and enhanced freedoms regarding international travel.
In the interview Zoabi warned that Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens are beginning to see themselves as part of what she described as “the Palestinian struggle” as a result of the pressure that is being applied on them.
"It took us 40 years for us to admit that we were even Palestinians,” said Zoabi. “Another 15 years passed before we realised that the peace process started under Oslo had been a disaster. The Zionist project was to domesticate its Arab citizens as the hewers and drawers of water. But the carrot-and-stick approach failed, and now we see Israel is prepared to throw away its liberal side to control us. We were passive once and now we are becoming active about our national identity.
"We did not immigrate to Israel. Israel immigrated to us. We are the indigenous people of a land from which we are being gradually expelled," she concluded.
Zoabi did not comment on those 'hewers and drawers of water' who are members of Knesset, doctors, university students and academics, among other fields.