Daily Israel Report

Attorney General Rejects Request to Investigate MK Zoabi

A-G rejects a request to launch an against MK Zoabi for saying Jews have no right to live in security because they are “occupiers”.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/1/2013, 3:43 AM

MK Hanin Zoabi at Gordon College of Education
MK Hanin Zoabi at Gordon College of Education
Gordon College of Education

The Attorney General has rejected a request to launch a criminal investigation against MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) over comments she made that the Jewish people have no right to live in security because they are “occupiers”.

Last July, Zoabi appeared in a public discussion forum at the Gordon College of Education in Haifa and said that the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, in which five Israelis were killed, happened because of “the Israeli occupation.”

“Israel is not a victim and even when civilians are killed it’s the Israeli occupation policy which is to blame,” she said of the attack which occurred a week before her comments were made. “If there hadn’t been occupation, oppression and a blockade, this would not have happened.”

A year ago, in February of 2012, Zoabi gave an interview to Channel 2 News in which she said, “Now comes the time when the oppressed Palestinian lifts his head and tells you enough. You have the right to self-determination as a Jew, but not on my account. This is my homeland and that should be recognized. There is no right to a normal life to a nation which is an occupier.”

In response to the comments, Attorney Avital Tzahor sent a letter to the Attorney General, on behalf of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, asking that he launch an investigation against Zoabi for what she said were statements “which support violence and terrorism and incitement.”

However, Attorney Dan Eldar from the State Prosecutor's Office wrote in a response letter to Attorney Tzahor that “MK Zoabi, like other members of the Knesset, has immunity... It seems that under the existing law, what MK Zoabi said is an expression of her opinion and performance of her duties, and therefore she is immune from prosecution over them.”

Eldar added, "Therefore, we cannot order that a criminal investigation into the matter be launched, and we hope that despite the fact that the MK thinks we don’t have that right, that we will live a secure, normal life.”

Before the last elections, the Central Elections Committee banned Zoabi, who has been notorious for her anti-Israel statements and actions which included participation in the 2010 flotilla to Gaza, from running. The Committee banned her under a clause requiring candidates and parties not to work against Israel's character as a Jewish, democratic state.

However, the Supreme Court later overturned the decision and allowed Zoabi to run.

Last week Zoabi told Arutz Sheva that Israel should “prepare the prisons” if a law requiring Arab Israelis to enlist in the army is passed.

Zoabi said that Arab youth would rather go to jail or perform some form of civil service than enlist in the IDF. She also said that the entire Arab sector will resort to civil disobedience in the event that such legislation is passed.