Palestinian Arab-Israeli Member of Israel’s Knesset to face prosecution for allegedly inciting violence and insulting & harassing Arab-Israeli police officers.
By Aviel Magnezi
Balad MK Hanin Zoabi will face prosecution pending a hearing for allegedly inciting violence and insulting a public official, the Northern District Prosecution informed Zoabi’s attorneys on Tuesday.
The Justice Ministry said the decision was made after receiving the prosecution’s recommendation to file an indictment against Zoabi and after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein held several discussions regarding the issue with State Attorney Shay Nitzan and representatives from the State Prosecution and the Northern District Prosecution.
The first alleged offense Zoabi committed was insulting public officials – Zoabi is being accused of harassing investigative police officers who represented the state in a remand hearing at the Nazereth’s Magistrate Court. The police officers Zoabi is being accused of insulting are Arab-Israeli citizens. Zoabi is also facing charges of incitement to violence against the same police officers.
The incident occurred in July 2014, when the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court presided over remand extension hearings of suspects who were involved in rioting in the Arab sector that occurred in the wake of the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem – in which Palestinian rioters clashed with police.
The State was represented in those hearings by two police investigators of Arab descent.
During a court recess, the Arab-Israeli policemen and Zoabi were outside of the juvenile court and surrounded by families of detainees and their lawyers when, after clarifying the identity of the two policemen, Zoabi allegedly began to raise her voice and accused the police officers of being traitors – saying they were sent to eavesdrop on the families waiting outside.
Later on, after one of the attorneys shook the Arab-Israeli policemens’ hands, Zoabi allegedly shouted that no one should shake their hands or talk to them. She then reportedly raised her voice again and, speaking in Arabic, called on those present to act against the policemen, while pointing at one of them repeatedly. Zoabi’s angry yelling seemed to stem from the fact that Arab-Israeli policemen were representing the state in cases against Arab suspects.
Zoabi continued shouting and said that the Arab-Israeli officers should be “socially ostracized.”
“We need to spit in their faces, those who testify with… against our sons and daughters, those who cooperate with the oppressor against their people. We need to wipe the floor with them … not shake their hand. And we won’t let them come between us – they should fear us. And when they’re on the street they should fear us. They should fear the ‘Shabaab’ who are arrested based on the intelligence they send, they’re the ones giving information to the police, according to which our youth and our daughters are arrested. He’s standing here between us with a lot of nerve, this insolent man. Have they no fear? No respect? What’s going on? What nerve!” Zoabi reportedly shouted during the alleged incident.
The State Prosecution said MK Zoabi’s alleged comments indicate that she was calling for violence against the policemen at the scene, as well as against other policemen of Arab descent who also act against Arab suspects – encouraging such acts of violence. Based on the content of her statements, and the way which they were said along with the circumstances in which they were said, there is a tangible possibility that the words could have led to acts of violence against Arab policemen – particularly those present.
Zoabi’s comments were made during a time of rising tensions in which there was rioting and clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian rioters. The comments were also made in front of families of Arab detainees who were likely overwhelmed with emotion and anger toward police.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4612148,00.html