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Daily Israel Report

Police Recommend Trying Arab MK Zoabi for Incitement

Zoabi cries 'fascism' as police say they have enough evidence to find her guilty; Danon warns 'don't let her flee to Qatar.'
By Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Hanin Zoabi leaving police investigation
Hanin Zoabi leaving police investigation
Flash 90

The police's Lahav 433 unit on Tuesday completed its investigation of Arab-nationalist MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), and recommended putting the MK on trial for charges of incitement to violence and insulting a public worker.

Last Monday Zoabi finally showed up for investigation at a Lod police station after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ordered her to do so. She more than once had refused to come over the course of a month, claiming at one point she has "no time" to sit for the police investigation.

According to the police investigation, there is enough of a basis of evidence to find the Arab MK guilty of charges against her, which center around an incident in early July, when Zoabi verbally abused two Arab police officers in a Nazareth courthouse.

Zoabi poured a string of inciteful verbal abuse on the Arab policemen, saying "they are cooperating against their own people, we need to clean the floor with them," "let them fear from the shabab (youth)," and "we need to spit on their faces."

The findings of the Lahav 433 unit will be brought in the coming days to the State Attorney's office for the decision of the Attorney General.

After being recommended for trial, Zoabi responded by accusing Israel of "fascism," claiming the decision to try her was a result "of the racist, fascist war atmosphere casting a shadow on all the authorities in Israel."

While she expressed her hope that the Attorney General would not accept the police recommendation, Zoabi added that if she is tried "I intend to turn the discussions into the most political trial in the history of the state of Israel."

"Don't let her escape to Qatar"

MK Danny Danon (Likud) responded to the police recommendation on Tuesday, saying "I have full confidence in the law enforcement system, that they will mete justice on Hanin Zoabi, whose place is in jail, not in the Israeli Knesset."

"The time has come for this embarrassment that a Hamas representative sits in the Israeli Knesset to end," declared Danon.

The former Deputy Defense Minister also referred to the recent trip by Zoabi and two other Balad MKs to Hamas-sponsor Qatar, where they reportedly met Balad party founder Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel after committing treason by passing information to aim Hezbollah's rockets at Israeli citizens.

"A stay of exit order must be issued against Zoabi; currently we must ensure that Zoabi doesn't flee to Qatar to unify with her patron Azmi Bishara, wanted for questioning in Israel," concluded Danon.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) also remarked on the Qatar visit on Monday, saying "we will...do whatever possible so that this fifth column (Balad) list representing the terror organizations in the Israeli Knesset will find itself far from the house of representatives and behind lock and key."

While the charges against Zoabi can hold a prison sentence, Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir told Arutz Sheva that the investigation "is simply a joke."

"What are they investigating her for? For insulting a public worker? ...These are trivial. After all, she's an enemy member of the Knesset, a spy," remarked Ben-Gvir. "The (legal) clauses of treachery could easily be used against her, she could have been tried for inciting to violence and terror, and the Attorney General is investigating her for insulting a public worker."

A history of enmity

Zoabi has linked herself to Hamas and generally projected antagonism to Israel on multiple occasions.

She has said that Israel has “no right to a normal life,” and that “the Israeli occupation” was behind the murder of Israelis in Bulgaria. Recently, she declared that Israel should "thank her" for allowing Jews to live in the Jewish State. 

The anti-Israel MK raised a furor in June after making a series of remarks defending Hamas's brutal abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Sha'ar hy''d. In the remarks, Zoabi refused to call their murderers "terrorists" and insisted that the abduction was a "legitimate" way to "fight the occupation." 

More recently, Zoabi published an article on Hamas's official website encouraging an Islamist uprising against Israel. She also recently was briefly handcuffed during violent pro-Palestinian protests in Haifa.