MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) will stay in Knesset despite outrage over her support for terrorism, activist and rights lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir predicted Sunday.
Zoabi has openly encouraged Hamas, stating in a recent interview that Israel is “afraid of casualties” and is hoping for a ceasefire. On Friday, she took part in a protest against Operation Defensive Edge, which aims to stop Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
MKs from the Yisrael Beytenu party have said they will create a law that would strip Zoabi of her citizenship and make her ineligible to run for Knesset. However, Ben-Gvir cast doubt on the likelihood their plans would succeed.
“We’ve been in this scenario several times,” he said. “Every time Zoabi incites again Israel, some source or another in the government talks about another initiative, another bill, another action against Hanin Zoabi.
“But when time passes and the outcry dies down, Zoabi keeps inciting and keeps harming the state of Israel as a Member of Knesset like any other,” he continued.
Israel already has laws on the books that would allow for Zoabi’s removal from Knesset, he noted, “For example, there is nothing preventing the Attorney General from starting the process of stripping her of her Parliamentary immunity. She could be investigated and put on trial, and she could lose various rights.”
The real reason Zoabi is not out of power is that the police, and the legal system as a whole, are not interested in beginning proceedings against her, he argued.
The Supreme Court shares blame as well, he added. “When [former] MK Ben-Ari and I filed a suit against Zoabi for her role in the Marmara affair, we encountered extreme resistance from the state prosecution and the Attorney General. We had a hearing, and all we asked was that the materials from the investigation of the Marmara affair be given to the judges, but to our surprise, there was resistance even to that,” he recalled.
“Instead of demanding to see the material, the judges decided in a majority statement that there was no reason to transfer the material. That left the lawsuit dead in the water,” he explained. He noted that Justice Tzvi Hendel had supported the request in a minority opinion, but had been overruled by justices Asher Grunis and Uzi Fogelman.
Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the government, he said.
“The State Prosecution, the Attorney General, and the rest of the legal system aren’t working in a vacuum,” Ben-Ari said. “They have guidance.
“Apparently, the Prime Minister and other government ministers prefer to speak against Zoabi in interviews, but not to take any step or to put pressure in the right places,” he concluded.