Arab MKs Remove Israeli Flags; 'We Won't be Good Arabs'

Balad party holds press conference with flags in corner: 'at least we left them in the room.' Zoabi vows not to be a 'good Arab.'

Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar,

Hanin Zoabi
Hanin Zoabi
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Before the start of the Winter Knesset session on Monday, members of the radical Arab Knesset party Balad held a press conference at the parliament building - in which they removed the Israeli flags from behind their seats to a corner of the room.

Party spokesperson Sami Ali who arranged the hall before the conference began said he moved the flags in a logistical mishap, claiming the MKs were to speak in a certain location but in the end chose at the last minute to sit in another spot, and did not bother to move the flags, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.

"We moved the flags according to the new place of the MKs but in the end they sat in another place and the flags remained," said Ali. Incredibly enough, he added: "at least we left the flags in the room."

MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) highlighted the conference, after the Knesset Ethics Committee leveled a six-month ban on her from the Knesset starting Thursday.

"By distancing me from the Knesset, basically they're saying they don't want Arabs, and only want 'good Arabs,'" said Zoabi.

The radical Arab MK pledged "we won't be good Arabs. ...I'm more democratic than all members of the Ethics Committee who try to define for me what's good and what's bad and how an Arab MK needs to behave. All of my statements are democratic and didn't slander anyone. They are saying words of hatred and incitement against me."

Zoabi sparked outrage on numerous occasions since the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens in June by Hamas terrorists - who she insisted were not in fact terrorists.

She recently encouraged terrorism on Hamas's website, marched with other Arab MKs at a Hamas victory rally after the summer's military operation, and traveled to Qatar to visit the exiled founder of their party Mohammed Barakeh, who fled Israel in 2007 amid investigations of treason for helping direct Hezbollah rockets on Israel.

The six-month ban comes for a different reason, however, namely a case in July in which she verbally abused two Arab police officers in a Nazareth courthouse, and even called on citizens to spit on them.

"Implement your 'threat' as soon as possible"

Balad Chairperson MK Jamal Zahalka also spoke at the conference, saying "recently there have been more instances of changing the rules of the game. They raised the (Knesset) threshold to block Arab parties from entering the Knesset in the next elections."

In response to the "game changing," MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) said: "the day is approaching when Arabs will decide there is no point in playing the political game. We call on Israeli society to tell its leaders - halas (an Arabic expression also used in Hebrew meaning 'enough')! We're discovering more and more that we're a persona non gratis in the Knesset."

At least one Knesset member welcomed the statement - Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu).

Writing on Facebook, Liberman responded "I welcome the intention of the Arab Members of Knesset to cut off from the political system in Israel, and I hope they will implement that 'threat' as soon as possible."

Balad is one of three Arab Knesset parties - along with the Islamist United Arab List (Ra'am-Ta'al) and the predominantly-Arab Hadash communist party. However, many Israeli Arabs have accused them of not being representative of the Arab-Israeli public and its interests, instead seeking to pursue radical agendas. That perception is believed to be one of a number of factors contributing towards the low voter-turnout among the Arab-Israeli public.








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