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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Haneen Zoabi’

13 More Balad Activists Arrested in Fraud Crackdown

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Police continued the crackdown on the Israeli-Arab Knesset party Balad Wednesday, arresting 13 additional suspects on suspicion of fraud. The arrests bring the number of Balad activists, lawyers and accountants arrested since Sunday to 36. No Balad Knesset members have been arrested.

The police suspect that the new detainees, all party activists, have been involved in a money laundering ring to defraud the Israeli government by misrepresenting the origin of millions of shekels (at least hundreds of thousands of US dollars). Balad reported the money to have been donated from hundreds of donors in Israel, but police suspect the funds were in fact received from other sources, both in Israel and abroad. Police have not provided further details.

Balad Party members allegedly committed a series of financial offenses, including money laundering, false reporting, forgery, receiving an object by deception under aggravated circumstances and numerous violations of the Political Parties Financing Law.

Balad is part of the Joint List faction in the Israeli parliament, a conglomeration of three Arab-majority parties, and describes itself as a “national party for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.” The party is more (Arab) nationalistic than the dovish and socialist Hadash party and the Islamic religious United Arab List. Balad MK Hanin Zoabi participated in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza, and more recently called IDF soldiers “murderers” in the Knesset plenum.

In February, Zoabi and fellow Balad MKs Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas were suspended from all Knesset deliberations for four months for meeting with and honoring families of Palestinian terrorists.

The latest detainees are expected to be brought before courts in northern and central Israel to extend their remand. In addition, six of the 23 suspects arrested on Sunday will appear in court Wednesday and are expected to have their remands extended. The 17 remaining suspects will appear on Thursday.

The investigation was initiated several years ago following a report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira and approved by the previous Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, in keeping with the state attorney’s recommendation. The covert investigation was closely monitored by the state attorney’s office.

Balad officials denounced the crackdown Sunday as “political persecution.”

“This is a dangerous escalation and another stage in the campaign of political persecution against the Arab minority and its political movements,” said the party in a statement. “The real purpose is to silence Balad and harm its role as spearhead in the struggle against oppression and discrimination. Like in the past, this attempt will fail and the mountain will turn out to be a mouse.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

MK Hazan Darling of Israeli Left over Dismissal by Netanyahu in Gaza Inquiry Brawl

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

MK Oren Hazan (Likud), traditionally the legislator most loathed by the Israeli left, both inside and outside the Knesset, now gets his turn to be the darling of the left, because of the courageous way he stood up to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Naturally, when Hazan was just as brave in the past, calling out Netanyahu on his shabby treatment of Israel’s rightwing majority, especially in Judea and Samaria, he did not receive recognition by the Labor MKs who this week have been stepping on each other to defend him, or, more accurately, attack Netanyahu on his behalf.

Hazan himself told Israel Radio Wednesday morning that he is paying a high price for his daring to criticize the prime minister, like several other Likud members (former MK Moshe Feiglin comes to mind). Hazan supports establishing a state committee of inquiry to investigate the 2014 Gaza war, specifically how aware had the IDF command been of the 30 to 40 Hamas terror tunnels? Netanyahu has released documentation showing the IDF conducted eight sessions, followed by 20 technical sessions, instructing the security cabinet on those tunnels. But Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett insists no such heightened attention was ever paid to the tunnels, and, in fact, it had taken his, Bennett’s, tenacious nagging to steer the cabinet and the high command towards hitting those vexing tunnels.

The Likud has launched a move to remove MK Hazan from the State Control Committee, where the vote on a state commission of inquiry will take place — because Hazan suggested he was in favor of appointing such a body. For his part, Hazan acknowledges that Netanyahu has just had enough of his “colorful” personal style, although it should be noted for the record that Hazan is one of the most hard working MKs: he is Knesset Deputy Speaker, and participates diligently and industriously in the Finance, State Control Committee, Special Committee for Discussion on the Public Broadcast Bill 2015, House Committee, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the Joint Committee for the Defense Budget. He is also member of a long list of Knesset Lobbies.

The above impressive record of Hazan’s contributions is surprising only to those who recall how the media introduced him following the last election, as a playboy drug dealer who managed casinos in Bulgaria and furnished cocaine and escorts for Israelis on vacation.

The Likud leadership has had it up to here with Hazan’s erratic behavior (he has endured several reprimands and a suspension for verbal brawls with opposition members, most recently his arch-enemy Hanin Zoabi from the Joint Arab List). They would like to post a more obedient MK at the Control Committee, because Netanyahu desperately wants to avoid a hearing on his cabinet’s management of the Gaza campaign. To remind the reader, 67 Israelis died in that war, and there are growing voices in Israel saying many of those deaths could be avoided. The head of the most right wing government in recent memory, Netanyahu does not need to be accused of military failure.

The opposition has been livid over Netanyahu’s intent to drop Hazan from the committee less than a week before the conclusion of the Knesset summer session. The same Zionist Camp NKs who last year condemned Netanyahu for letting into the Knesset a sketchy character such as Hazan now released a statement saying: “Bibi is afraid of Hazan. He is afraid of criticism, and above all he is afraid that criticism of operation Defensive Shield would expose him as being weak against the Hamas — that he is more a talkback artist than a leader.”

MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), chair of the State Control Committee, accused Netanyahu of trying to sabotage the committee’s work. “The prime minister is acting on strictly political considerations and it isn’t clear of what he is so afraid,” she said.

Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) called on Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to block the Likud Knesset faction’s move against Hazan. “The prime minister is so fearful of the comptroller’s report on Defensive Shield that he dishonors the Knesset and steps on the foundations of democracy,” Jelin said. “The next phase for the PM, after completing his domination of all the MKs, would be to pass the constitution for a new dictatorship.”

Incidentally, it’s been suggested recently that Netanyahu, who is 67, could remain Israel’s prime minister for many years to come — seeing as his exulted father Prof. Benzion Netanyahu lived to the ripe old age of 101. It could mean as many as 10 more terms for the ambitious Netanyahu, who would be the prime minister of Israeli children who are not yet born.

David Israel

Ethics Committee Reprimands MK Zoabi ‘Severely’ over ‘Extreme’ Comments

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

The Knesset Ethics Committee on Monday issued a severe reprimand to MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) over her “extreme” comments during a recent plenary debate on the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey.

During a June 29 debate on the deal with Turkey, under which Israel agreed to compensate the families of Turkish terrorists who were killed when they attacked IDF soldiers attempting to take over a Gaza-bound vessel, Zoabi, who had been on the ship during the May 2010 raid, said: “I stood here six years ago, some of you remember the hatred and hostility toward me, and look where we got to. Apologies to the families of those who were called terrorists. The nine that were murdered, it turns out that their families need to be compensated. I demand an apology to all the political activists who were on the Marmara and an apology to MK Hanin Zoabi, against whom you’ve incited for six years. I demand compensation and I will donate it to the next flotilla. As long as there’s a siege, more flotillas need to be organized.”

During the plenary debate, Zoabi also said the reconciliation deal is an admission of guilt by Israel regarding the flotilla raid. Several MKs began shouting and moved toward the podium to complain about her inciting statements. As MKs were pushing against the podium, Zoabi shouted, “They murdered,” and “Shut up,” repeatedly. The Ethics Committee described the debate as “Exceptionally caustic,” saying that “at moments it seemed that it could deteriorate into physical violence and undoubtedly harm the dignity of the Knesset and its members.”

The Ethics Committee said it had received complaints against Zoabi from nine different lawmakers. The majority of the committee members said Zoabi’s statements were “extreme, provocative, not anchored in reality, and at the very least pushed the boundaries of freedom of expression for MKs.”

“However, because of the broad freedom of political expression MKs enjoy, together with the fact that the disturbances to her speech didn’t actually allow her to complete a sentence or an organized argument from the moment she had stepped up to the podium, there are no grounds at this time to increase her punishment for the content of her remarks themselves,” the committee ruled.

In her defense, Zoabi pointed out that she did not say the words “IDF soldiers are murderers,” as she had been accused, but the committee noted that the majority of its members accepted this explanation “with difficulty” and that other MKs and the public “justifiably” understood from her comments that she was accusing IDF soldiers of being murderers. They also said Zoabi misled Deputy Knesset Speaker Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beitenu) by telling him that she intended to apologize for her remarks, and when he allowed her back at the podium, ostensibly to apologize, repeated her inflammatory remarks, making the incident even worse than it already was.

Zoabi submitted complaints against several MKs who shouted at her, including MK Oren Hazan (Likud), whom she said yelled “offensive” things at her.

Hazan was also severely reprimanded by the Ethics Committee, which said he “undoubtedly was the one who instigated the commotion in the plenum and continued to fan the flames, breaking all acceptable codes of behavior.”

MKs Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), Nava Boker (Likud), Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp) and Aliza Lavi (Yesh Atid) were reprimanded with a “comment,” the lightest sanction by the Ethics Committee, for their conduct during the debate.

In its decision, the Ethics Committee called on MKs to “show restraint and allow appropriate discussions in the plenum, even when extreme remarks are made. As for getting threateningly close to the stage, the committee believes that doing so has the potential to erupt into violence and breaks the rules of behavior in the Knesset plenum. The committee wishes to warn the MKs that from now on it will consider serious sanctions in such cases, including suspension.”

David Israel

After Filibuster Knesset Passes ‘Dismissal Law’ Empowering It to Oust Sitting MK

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The Knesset late Tuesday night passed into law a bill that allows it to remove a sitting lawmaker from office. According to the so-called “Impeachment Law,” which passed by a 62 to 45 vote, the Knesset can oust a legislator for incitement to racism and support of armed struggle against the state—which many in Israel’s media have said makes the law all but tailor-made for the inequities of one MK — the vociferous Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List). Incidentally, since Zoabi’s own party members have already ousted her from a realistic spot for the next Knesset elections, it is doubtful the law will be employed any time soon.

Another obvious reason why the new law is unlikely to be used in the foreseeable future is the fact that it requires a majority of 90 lawmakers to launch expulsion proceedings, following which the votes of 70 out of the 120 MKs are required to oust a sitting legislator, and those votes must include 10 opposition lawmakers.

So the new law is all for show.

The vote itself Tuesday night was great parliamentary theater, as opposition MKs who had submitted hundreds of objections to the bill, which they were set to discuss into the wee hours, suddenly withdrew them in a hurry and demanded the vote be held immediately, when they realized that the 66-seat coalition did not have enough members present to pass the vote. But the coalition whips were not born yesterday, and they managed to filibuster the vote until enough lawmakers had been rustled in to guarantee a majority.

The filibuster method they used was perhaps less elegant than those late night readings of the Cat in the Hat by US Senators, but it was just as effective: Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin stood at the podium and repeated the phrase: “Today it has become clear that the Labor party and Yesh Atid work for Haneen Zoabi. You should be ashamed of yourselves.” He just kept saying this mantra until enough coalition MKs had arrived.

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said about the new law: “There will be a big stain on the Knesset if we allow this law to pass.”

Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) opened the debate over the new law, saying, “The Knesset will no longer be a shroud for terrorism and racism. Members of the Knesset whose salary is paid by the state cannot use it to undermine the state’s foundations.” He added: “If there is an MK who is thinking of being involved with racism, I hope this law will deter him and we will not have to use it.”

Opposition MKs said the law itself was racist, targeting as it does an Arab House member, which would technically mean that MK Slomiansky could become the first target of the Dismissal Law, in an M. C. Escher-like serpentine of parliamentary cause and effect.

Under the law, an MK may not face impeachment proceedings during an election campaign, 180 days before Election Day.

The impeachment proceedings would begin with a request which shall be submitted to the Knesset Speaker. The Speaker will pass the request to the Knesset Committee for discussion. Approval of the request will require support from a three-quarter majority of the Knesset Committee members. After approval by the committee, the request shall be submitted for final approval by the Knesset plenum.


MK Zoabi Curses Out IDF Soldiers Until MK Hazan Stops Her, Much Brouhaha Follows [video]

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

MKs Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) and Zehava Galon (Meretz) were removed from the Knesset on Wednesday after a storm that erupted in response to vile allegations made by Zoabi as part of the daily agenda proposals. The Arab MK spoke in response to the rapprochement agreement between Israel and Turkey, but her language was so rude and offensive, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) felt obligated to interrupt her, at which point the rest of the House started to pay attention, and crowded the podium demanding that the offending MK be removed from the plenum. When MK Galon asked the Deputy Speaker, Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), why he’s not removing Hazan as well, the Deputy Speaker removed her from the plenum.

MK Zoabi began her statement saying, “I stood here six years ago. Remember the incitement, the hatred and the noise back then? And where have we arrived? An apology and reparations to the families of those who were once called terrorists. They, who confronted the soldiers, were trying to prevent an act of piracy of the Shayetet (Naval special forces) that probably was looking to kidnap and murder.”

At which point Hazan called out, “You’re talking about the soldiers? You should be named Captain Hook. You are a pirate, supporting terrorism, rukhi (Arabic for go away) to Gaza.”

MK Amar, a Druze who served in the IDF from 1982 to 1986 (he also holds a fifth degree black belt in Martial Arts) told the plenum that Zoabi wished to apologize. But when she received the floor she demanded an apology on behalf of “all the political activists who were on the [Turkish boat Mavi] Marmara, and an apology to MK Hanin Zoabi whom you attacked and persecuted for six years. All of you need to apologize, all the MKs in this building.”

Hazan continued to cut her off, calling her, “Traitor, you are the national inciter, go to Gaza.” He then turned to Amar, saying, “There’s a limit to everything, take her off the podium.”

“He who committed the murder must apologize. You need to apologize,” Zoabi persisted. But at that point the plenum had erupted in a storm, with many MKs. crowding the podium and demanding that Zoabi be removed. Finally, Amar ordered her removed saying that she “lied” when she told him she wished to apologize.” Which is when MK Galon stood up to inquire how come Hazan, who also interrupted the proceedings, had not been removed — so she was removed, too. Then MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) was removed for yelling “Traitors” at the Balad party MKs (Balad is one of the four factions in the Joint Arab List).

By now the Knesset resembled one of those eastern European or Asian parliaments, where the members take to fisticuffs when words would no longer do. Hazan was thrown out, several Arab MKs followed, the speaker, who had long since lost all hope of controlling the proceedings just kept on yelling at everyone in his field of vision. It was a brawl, but without actual violence, only the Knesset ushers were busy gently manhandling the MKs so they won’t hurt one another.

Outside the plenum, Zoabi told reporters: “Israel did not disengage from Gaza, Israel disengaged Gaza from the world and from life. I demand an apology, and I want reparations, which I will donate to the children of Gaza, and to the next flotillas.”

The entire afternoon was a kind of Déjà vu: on May 31, 2010, Zoabi participated in the Gaza flotilla, and was on board the Mavi Marmara when violence broke out as Israeli commandos were attacked with metal rods, knives, broken bottles and the kitchen sink as they were trying to board and take over the ship. Zoabi was arrested. At a later news conference, Zoabi called the raid criminal, saying she had witnessed two wounded passengers bleed to death after the Israelis refused to provide medical aid. She also stated, “It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future.”

That was a blatant lie, as could be seen in the videos taken during the event, showing the IDF soldiers coming down a rope from a chopper, to be showered with punches, blows and cuts. There were easier ways to cause fatalities, if that were on the IDF’s mind.

In a speech at the Knesset one day after her release, MK Zoabi called the raid a “pirate military operation” and demanded an international investigation. She also demanded to know why the Israeli government had not released photos and videos it confiscated from passengers that might shed light on why nine passengers were killed and dozens wounded. During her address she also said, “Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation. Why does the government of Israel oppose an investigation?”

Of course, the videos that were released showed ample provocation and then some.

Zoabi was repeatedly interrupted and shouted down during that initial speech in 2010 by other lawmakers, one of whom shouted “Go to Gaza, traitor!” The chaos reached a peak when MK Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) charged the podium in an attempt to prevent Zoabi from continuing.

David Israel

MK Zoabi: Reparations to Turks an Israeli Admission of Murder

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Anti-Zionist Arabs are not happy with the pending new Israeli-Turkish rapprochement — there goes yet another regional power whose support for Arab terrorism against Israel has cooled down. The two loudest Israeli-Arab voices to spin Netanyahu’s diplomatic success into a failure are MKs Haniz Zoabi and Ahmad Tibbi. Both are arguing that the fact that Israel is paying Turkey reparations over the 2010 Mavi Marmara fiasco constitutes admission of guilt and therefore does not end the Israeli public relations headache, it only makes it bigger.

But everyone else in the region, most notably the Turks and the Israelis, appear delighted to put behind them that nasty episode and the bad six years that followed.

After the final disagreements have been smoothed over Sunday, on Monday afternoon Prime Minister Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to announce a reconciliation agreement between their two countries in concurrent press conferences. Netanyahu’s cabinet would then be required to approve the deal, and said cabinet includes Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, a staunch enemy of appeasing Turkey, but that’ll come later.

Turkish-Israeli relations hit a wall back in 2010 after the IDF special forces who were attempting to take over the Mavi Marmara, part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” were met with overwhelming violence from the Arab and Turkish crew, and were forced to kill Turkish citizens onboard. On Sunday, after six years of open hostility between the two countries, which have historically depended on each other economically, high level Israeli and Turkish delegations met in Rome and hammered out the final reconciliation deal.

The political components of the agreement are:

1. Israel will pay Turkey some $20 million, presumably going to the families of the dead crew members.

2. Turkey will not launch lawsuits against the IDF officers and soldiers who took part in the operation.

3. Israel will ease some of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

4. Turkey will limit Hamas activities inside its borders. Turkey will not permit Hamas to conduct, plan or direct any military activity against Israel while in Turkish territory. However, the Hamas offices will stay open and can continue to operate as diplomatic agencies.

The economic aspects of the deal have mainly to do with Turkey, which is now dependent on its hostile Russian neighbor for its supply of natural gas, looking to replace it with Israeli gas. However, for the time being, the Israeli gas is still tied up in the Knesset as well as in the Supreme court, so that’s not happening yet.

MK Zoabi, for whom this is her last term in the Knesset, having been kicked off her realistic spot on her Balad party’s list by party primary voters, insists that this is not the time to celebrate the diplomatic achievement of the Netanyahu government, instead, she says, the deal constitutes an Israeli admission of “committing nine murders, injuring dozens, kidnapping and piracy in international waters.”

Zoabi is also irate that the Turkish-Israeli deal does not deposit in Israel’s hands the responsibility for the woes of the Gaza Strip, which it abandoned ten years ago this summer. Zoabi wants the Israeli blockade to come down completely, but has nothing to say about the Hamas openly declared intentions of continuing their plans to attack Israeli civilians.

MK Tibi for his part suggested PA-based jurists should take note of the reparations index of the Turkish deal, for future discussions, when the new Palestinian state would be handing Israel the bill for all the Arabs that died over the years, presumably including those who were killed while trying to stuff their suicide belts with explosives.

Israeli politicians on both sides of the aisle were unhappy with the deal. Former minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud) tweeted: “Israel will pay Turkey reparations for the Marmara? I hope the news is wrong. If it’s true — this is a national humiliation and an invitation for more flotillas and more libels from Israel haters.”

MK Arel Margalit (Zionist Camp) said that “Netanyahu once again capitulated with his tail between his legs before Hamas, hurt the IDF soldiers without blinking, and abandoned the families of the missing.”

Margalit was referring to Turkey’s failure to convince Hamas to sweeten its Israeli deal with Israel by handing over its biggest bargaining chip, the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. Of course, the Turks promised to try, and they probably did, but anyone who expected Netanyahu to be able to come up with a win on that count is either terribly naïve or just hates Netanyahu.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) tweeted that “there better be a very good reason to justify the deal with Turkey, which on its face appears shameful.”


Arab Primary Voters Dump Terror-Supporting MKs Zoabi, Ghattas

Friday, June 17th, 2016

MK Hanin Zoabi, whose National Democratic Assembly (Balad) party is one of the three partner factions making up the Joint Arab List, has been the most frequent candidate for removal both from the elections list and, as MK, from the plenum, as well as defendant in court, all owing to her vicious attacks on Israeli values and on Israeli public officials—including, most recently, cursing out and spitting on Arab police. Now, all who trust in the wisdom of the voters are entitled to a big high-five, as Zoabi has been pushed in the primaries for her faction’s list of Knesset candidates down to spot number 9, well outside the realistic expectations for the 21st Knesset, Makor Rishon reported Friday.

The Joint Arab List, which has one Jewish MK, is a new political creature, a coalition made up of four different parties whose only common denominator is the fact that they are Arab and appeal to the Arab Israeli voter. Hadash, the United Arab List, Balad, and Ta’al, which make up the third largest faction in the 20th Knesset, were, essentially, the brain child of then Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who pushed for a higher vote threshold, requiring that a list gain close to four seats before it can claim any of its seats. Realizing that the new rule could wipe out the bulk of the Arab representation in the Knesset, the four parties, with communists, business leaders, ultra-nationalists and religious zealots, found a way to unite in order to stay alive. Ironically, Liberman’s own party, Yisrael Beiteinu, barely made it past the same threshold.

With the four factions sharing the 13 seats they were granted by the voter, it is unlikely for any one of them to get more than three or four MKs, so that Zoabi’s failure to get enough votes for the third or fourth spot in her faction means a resounding demotion by her party members.

But Zoabi did relatively well compared with her fellow Balad MK Basel Ghattas, who shared with her a much slammed ceremony honoring the families of Jerusalem terrorists who had died while murdering Jews. Ghattas was dropped to the 23rd spot, which is political death in the reality of Arab politics.

Another demoted Balad leader, also member of the honor guard to the killers, is Jamal Zahalka, who landed the fifth spot, which would only get him a seat should the Joint Arab List pick up between 18 and 20 mandates, a feat that would necessarily require direct involvement from Mohammed himself, if not an even higher authority.

Anonymous members of the Joint List told Makor Rishon they were pleased with the choices of Balad voters, who replaced their fanatical leaders with seemingly more pragmatic ones, including a woman, Nibin Abu Rahmoun, at the top of the list. The latest choices could revitalize the Balad faction as well as the entire Knesset list, possibly attracting one or two additional seats.

With MK Ghattas’ resounding defeat Balad voters have severed their ties to his uncle, former MK Azmi Bishara, who back in 2007 resigned from the Knesset through the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, following police investigation into his treasonous activities, aiding the enemy during wartime, passing information on to the enemy and contacts with a foreign agent, as well as laundering money received from foreign sources. With that shameful legacy out of the way, the new faces in Balad could devote themselves to improving the quality of life for Israeli Arabs.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-primary-voters-dump-terror-supporting-mks-zoabi-ghattas/2016/06/17/

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