Arutz Sheva tries to find out why Knesset Ethics Committee punished MK who took part in pro-Hamas flotilla with a mere 2 week ban on speechmaking.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/18/2011, 11:28 AM / Last Update: 7/18/2011, 11:36 AM
More than a year after MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) took part in the pro-Hamas flotilla that endangered the lives of Israeli soldiers, the Knesset Ethics Committee punished her by removing her right to make speeches in the plenum – but only for two weeks’ time.
Zoabi will be allowed to make speeches again in the fall Knesset session, after the parliament’s summer break.
The Ethics Committee’s members are the chairman Yitzchak Vajknin (Shas), and MKs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and Rachel Adato (Kadima).
Arutz Sheva asked MK Eldad why the punishment meted out by the committee was so light, compared to the gravity of Zoabi's deed. He would not go into detail regarding the deliberations of the committee, which are held behind closed doors. "Some say [the punishment] is too strict and other say it is too light," he said. "I never go into the specifics of what went on inside the committee. Often there is an argument between the members. Decisions are reached through consensus and I stand behind the committee's decision."
Since decisions must be consensual, it is possible that one member of the committee -- most likely MK Adato of Kadima, considered a leftist party -- insisted on the light punishment. However, this is conjecture on Arutz Sheva's part and was not hinted at by MK Eldad.
Zoabi was videotaped on board the ship called the Mavi Marmara, milling about as armed terrorists prepared for violence against IDF soldiers:
The Committee took over a year to discuss Zoabi’s transgressions because the move was blocked by its former chairwoman, MK Shelly Yechimovich, a radical leftist. Yechimovich recently quit chairing the committee because she is running for the leadership of the Labor party. She was replaced by MK Vaknin.
MK Eldad confirmed that the committtee was able to discuss punishment for Zoabi only because MK Yechimovich ceased to chair it.
Six weeks after the flotilla drama, the Knesset voted 34-16 vote to strip MK Zoabi of three privileges: use of a diplomatic passport, government participation in legal fees, and enhanced freedoms regarding international travel.