Israel’s Knesset on July 13 voted to revoke parliamentary privileges from Arab MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad) due to her participation in the Gaza aid flotilla that was attacked by the Israeli military in May. Thirty-four lawmakers voted to strip Zuabi’s privileges and 16 voted against, after heated debate. Zuabi responded to the vote by saying, “It’s not surprising that a country that strips the fundamental rights of its Arab citizens would revoke the privileges of a Knesset member who loyally represents her electorate.”
Among the three privileges to be denied Zuabi is the right to leave the country—evidently intended to prevent her from fleeing Israel if she is charged with a crime. She is also to be denied the right to carry a diplomatic passport, and to have the Knesset cover litigation fees if she faces trial.
MK Yariv Levin (Likud), chair of the committee that decided on rescinding her privileges, told Zuabi that she doesn’t belong in the Knesset. “You have no place in the Israeli Knesset, you are unworthy of holding an Israeli ID and you embarrass the citizens of Israel, the Knesset, the Arab population and your family,” he said. MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) was escorted out of the hall after she handed Zuabi a fake Iranian passport with Zuabi’s photograph on it, facetiously saying that it will serve her on her diplomatic incitement trips. (Intifada Palestine, July 14)
See our last post on Israel/Palestine and the Gaza flotilla outrage.