A video clip indicates that MK Hanin Zouabi, a mild-mannered but extremist first-term Arab Knesset Member, lied outright when she said she did not know that the Turkish terrorists aboard the flotilla ship were preparing to attack IDF soldiers.
The clip, released on Army Radio’s website Wednesday morning – although currently not viewable, apparently because of the heavy demand – shows Zouabi standing next to a group of Turks who are armed with clubs and metal bars.
It is likely that they were among the mob that attacked the sparsely-armed IDF soldiers who rappelled down onto the ship after it refused to adhere to IDF orders to change course. Though the mob proceeded to beat and injure several soldiers, including one very seriously, the small IDF force was able to recover and kill nine attackers.
MK Zouabi said repeatedly after the incident, and again today, that though she was on the ship, she had no knowledge of any preparations for a violent attack on IDF soldiers. Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin said he plans to submit the tapes to the Attorney General and to the Knesset Ethics Committee.
Filmed in the stairwell of one of the ship's below-board floors, the clip first shows Zouabi with an orange life-jacket, standing and talking with mob members. One Israel Navy soldier testified that it was at this point that three of his comrades were being dragged below in an attempt to kidnap them; according to his testimony, it is unlikely that Zouabi did not see this.
Zouabi has had, and continues to have, close ties with Azmi Bishara, former leader of her Balad party who, as a Knesset Member, fled the country after being suspected of aiding Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War.
After seeing the film of Zouabi, a senior Navy source commented, “It is hard to conceive that Zouabi, standing there in the ship’s stairwell, did not see the attempts to abduct IDF soldiers and hide them below-board.”
Her presence on the Marmari evoked a strong public outcry, and the Knesset ultimately voted to strip her of certain privileges, such as the rights to a diplomatic passport and public funding of her legal expenses.
“The Israeli public, and the Knesset Members, are tired of Arab MKs taking advantage of our democracy to harm the country,” MK Danny Danon (Likud) said at the time. “Zouabi must decide if she supports Hamas and Al-Qaeda, or if she is a member of the Knesset of Israel.”
Zouabi herself has stated that she wishes to be both. “I serve my own principles,” she has said, “as well as my people that is oppressed by the State [of Israel], and I have no problem doing so in the framework of the Knesset. My voters did not vote for me so that I would strengthen Zionism… There is a people that voted for Hamas, and I fight for their right to choose.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniye personally called Zouabi while the Knesset was debating the stripping of her privileges, and encouraged her to “remain strong.”