Arab-Israeli lawmakers meet with families of Palestinian assailants

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three Arab-Israeli lawmakers who met with the families of Palestinians who killed or attempted to kill Israelis could be facing Knesset sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Knesset officials what steps can be taken to punish the three Joint Arab List parliament members.

Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi and Basel Ghattas met this week with the families of three Palestinian attackers whose bodies have not yet been returned to their families, a punitive measure used by Israel.

“Knesset members who go to comfort the families of terrorists, killers of Israelis, are unfit to serve in Israel’s government,” Netanyahu said in a tweet Thursday evening. “I have gone to the speaker of the Knesset to find out what steps can be taken against them.”

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Among those the lawmakers met with was the father of an assailant who, with an accomplice, killed three Israelis in Jerusalem in October. The lawmakers reportedly plan to meet again with the families.

Earlier Thursday, Netanyahu visited a Border Police officer who was injured in an attack by three West Bank Palestinians the previous day outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

“Your reactions and your resourcefulness prevented terrible disasters. The entire Israeli people embrace you and hope that you will recover quickly,” Netanyahu told the 18-year-old officer. He called efforts to combat the current wave of terrorism a “protracted struggle.”

Another policewoman, 19, was killed in the attack.

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