Court Rejects Zoabi's Petition Against Knesset Ban

High Court rejects appeal after judges have some choice words for radical Arab MK's defense of Hamas kidnappers.

Orli Harari ,

Hanin Zoabi
Hanin Zoabi
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The High Court rejected Wednesday an appeal by MK Hanin Zoabi against her six-month ban from the Knesset plenum.

Four of the five judges in the case agreed that "there is no room for involvement in the decision of the (Knesset) Ethics Committee, according to which the petitioner violated Rule 1A of the ethical guidelines for Members of Knesset."

At yesterday's hearing, judges had harsh words for the radical Arab MK, who received the half-year ban for comments she made sympathizing with the abductors and murderers of three Israeli teenagers last summer.

"There is no precedent in the entire world of such statements by a parliament member who expresses such sentiments about the state in which he in an MP," said Judge Hanan Meltzer.

Judge Esther Hayut had similarly strong words, calling out Zoabi for her hypocrisy.

"I personally don't understand how a person who declares that she believes in nonviolence can say that those who kidnap children are not terrorists," she said.

"When one suggests sanctions, a siege on the state; when one actually understands and identifies with people who kidnap and murder children one their way home, how can these things be identified with the good of the state in the minimal, most basic way?" she asked.

Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yanun said Zoabi's remarks overstepped the boundaries of free speech, even for an MK. "This was not another outrageous political statement but identification with the enemies of the state, and even if there was no criminal transgression here the committee has the authority to deal with it."

"The second expression was even more severe and was in writing, in which she expanded her previous thought," Yanun continued. "We are talking about an article that Zoabi wrote during Operation Protective Edge, in which she said that 'it is incumbent upon us to begin a popular uprising, to lay siege to Israel, to stop the security coordination and to stop the negotiations with her'."

The rejection of Zoabi's appeal comes just a day after she was indicted for a separate incident, during which she incited Arab youths to attack Israeli police officers in Nazareth.