Israeli MK Zoabi recommended for court trial

Ben Sales

(JTA) — The Israel Police recommended that Arab Israeli Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi be put on trial after Zoabi insulted and threatened police officers during an interrogation.

Police recommended Tuesday that Zoabi, a member of the Balad party, be tried for inciting to violence, making threats and insulting a public servant, according to Haaretz. Zoabi was interrogated last week by police for a previous incident, and police allege that during questioning she called the Arab Israeli officers “collaborators” who should be used “to wipe the floor.”

Zoabi also allegedly told the policeman they should fear violent Palestinian youth.

“The decision is not the result of my investigation, in which I answered in detail all the allegations against me, but rather of a warlike, racist and fascist atmosphere casting a shadow on Israeli authorities,” Zoabi said following the questioning, according to Haaretz. “It was the same with the scandalous and unprecedented decision to expel me from the Knesset for six months for things that I said in the course of fulfilling my duty, about which the attorney general explicitly determined not to constitute an infraction of the law.”

Zoabi was referring to a decision to suspend her from parliamentary activity for six months due to statements she made regarding the June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, which she said was not a terrorist act.

In a separate incident, Zoabi and two other Balad MKs, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka, are being investigated by the Knesset Ethics Committee for a trip they took last week to Qatar, where they met with former Balad Knesset Member Azmi Bishara. Bishara fled Israel in 2007 following allegations that he had spied for Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The Ethics Committee is investigating the three MKs because they did not receive prior permission for the trip, nor did they disclose who funded it.

Ben Sales is JTA’s Israel correspondent.