Hanin Zoabi says prime minister, senior IDF officials should be tried for oppressing Palestinians as court hears petition over partial revocation of Knesset privileges
The Balad MK made the comments on Tuesday at the end of a High Court hearing into the revocation of some of her parliamentary privileges, over her participation in the Gaza flotilla two years ago.
Zoabi was on board the Mavi Marmara when Turkish activists assaulted IDFcommandoes that were trying to take control of the ship in June 2010.
Among the privileges revoked by the Knesset was the privilege of holding a diplomatic passport, being waived through Ben Gurion security, legal expenses and participation in any Knesset plenum activities with the exception of voting rights.
Zoabi promised that she “would take part in any future flotilla,” and said: “I believe the Knesset decision is a political penalty, political vengeance. There have been attorney general opinions stating that I didn’t break the law.
“My participation in the flotilla is not accepted by the consensus and the Knesset’s decision in itself voids any claims of pluralism.”
The High Court convened with an extended panel of seven judges lead by President Asher Grunis. During the hearing the Knesset’s legal advisor Eyal Yinon said: “Revoking privileges from a Knesset Member is a very rare process in the Knesset, this is the sixth time that the Knesset has taken these steps.”
According to Yinon: “The procedure against Zoabi should not be seen as a penal act, it is a preventive process meant to avoid these acts in the future.”
Attorney Danny Geva who is representing the plaintiff said: “We believe that the freedom of expression refers to expression as well as acts.” A statement which led Justice Grunis to reply sarcastically: “That is, indeed, news.”
Geva went on to add: “The Knesset cannot revoke the privileges of a Knesset Member elected by the public. Revoking those privileges is revoking the rights of the public which they represent.”
The Judges will hand down their ruling at a later date.