The Central Elections Committee Thursday voted to ban extremist Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) from running in the upcoming general elections.
The motion to ban her passed by a wide margin of 27-6, following a stormy debate.
Earlier, the committee meeting was the scene of loud shouting on Thursday, as Zoabi appeared to defend herself over the petition to ban her from running for the Knesset in the current election campaign.
The petition was submitted by Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman and Otzma Yehudit/Yachad - Ha'am Itanu candidate Baruch Marzel, over anti-Israel remarks and actions she has made over the years.
Speaking at the Committee hearing, Zoabi said that she was not the one that should be put “on trial. The occupation is the source of all violence, and for those who did not notice, the two people who filed this petition are the ones who have turned my entire nation into terrorists.” She and that “nation,” said Zoabi, “are part of the Palestinian nation. We are Palestinians.”
The comments elicited a great deal of shouting and catcalling, with MKs telling Zoabi that she did not represent the Arab public, and that she condoned, and even praised, terror attacks against Israelis and Jews. “Is there an 'occupation' in Paris? Is there occupation in ISIS-held lands?” shouted MKs at Zoabi, referring to the recent murder of four Jews in the Hyper Cacher market in Paris, and the beheading of Western hostages by ISIS terrorists.
Zoabi also provoked anger after smirking and laughing during her speech, and was interrupted repeatedly by Ha'am Itanu party leader Eli Yishai who called her a "terrorist."
In the petition, Marzel - who is himself facing attempts to ban him - and Liberman included choice samples of the anti-Israel and pro-terror comments made over the years by several of the candidates, including MK Hanan Zoabi. In an interview with Russian media, for example, Zoabi said “I have no problem with Iran, and I am very supportive of all the groups fighting the occupation of the Palestinians by Israel. I certainly support any and all groups fighting the occupation."
The petition noted that several candidates, primarily Zoabi, have given vocal support to terrorists such as Hamas in their efforts to destroy Israel, and promote "the armed struggle of Israel's enemies and terror groups against Israel, which according to the Basic Law: Knesset prevents then from running in an election."
“I am going to wipe the smirk off Hanin Zoabi's face,” Marzel said when he filed the petition several weeks ago. “She advocates the killing of IDF soldiers, and the murders of children.”
If advocating murder was the criteria for being termed a terrorist, said Zoabi, it was the petitioners who deserved that title, claiming that Israel's defensive actions against Hamas terrorists in Gaza was somehow the equivalent of "murder."
“Those who do not condemn the murder of hundreds of children in Gaza are supporters of terror,” she said. “What bothers those who seek to ban me from running is the fact that I am a Palestinian and want to continue being a Palestinian, even in the Knesset.”