Arab MK Hanin Zuabi Stripped of Right to Speak in Parliament
Tel Aviv – The Knesset ethics committee voted on Monday to strip Arab member of parliament Hanin Zuabi of her rights to address parliament and vote in committees.
Hanin Zuabi speaks in parliament (File Photo)
The decision comes one year after Zuabi had other parliamentary rights taken away from her, including her diplomatic passport, financial help for legal assistance and the right to travel to countries Israel does not have official ties with.
The stripping of these rights came after Zuabi sailed on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara during last year’s Gaza flotilla.
Zuabi was first elected in 2009 as a member of Balad. The 42-year-old Palestinian from Nazareth is one of Israel’s 1.5 million Arab citizens.
When some of her parliamentary rights were revoked last year, Zuabi went to the High Court of Justice to get the privileges back, but they were ultimately stripped by a Knesset vote of 34-16.
MK Zuabi said on Monday that ‘this is the first time that the ethics committee of the Israeli parliament have punished parliamentarians for their behavior outside of parliament’, adding that MKs had been punished before but for conduct inside of parliament.
Zuabi continued, saying that the committee’s decision contradicts the rules of conduct for the committee and reflects a profound desire for a political vendetta, reflected by a hysteric racist right-wing majority that doesn’t differentiate between its right-wing positions and political legitimacy.
Zuabi stated ‘the political majority in Israel is not the source of legitimacy instead it should be the law, therefore the question is whether I did something against the law or not. I did not do anything contradictory to law, unless in this case the right-wing groups control the Israeli courts, creating a judicial system that reflects a right-wing majority.’
Zuabi also affirmed that the political immunity that is given to Knesset members is specifically granted to protect them from the oppression of the majority, so as to protect them from sanctions that might be imposed on them. Therefore the decision by the ethics committee conflicts with the immunity which should provide protection for MKs during such cases.
Zuabi has been a vocal critic of some of Israel’s policies both inside and outside the Knesset. Last week she was taken out of the Knesset hall by security officers after interrupting a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the recently-passed anti-boycott law.