Palestinian MK members fight suspension, Netanyahu’s ‘incitement’
Israeli Arab member of parliament, Hanin Zoabi, is one of three Palestinian lawmakers suspended. (AFP/File)
Three Palestinian lawmakers in the Israeli parliament announced Tuesday that they will appeal the decision of its ethics committee to suspend them for visiting families of Palestinian attackers.
The committee of the Knesset, the parliament. suspended Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas for four months and Jamal Zahalqa for two months. Zoabi and Ghattas received longer suspension because of previous complaints against them filed with the committee.
The decision stated that the Palestinian lawmakers will be barred from attending the Knesset plenum but will still be able to vote.
The lawmakers from the Joint Arab List took part at a local campaign conducted by legal and human rights organisations and the families of the attackers whose bodies are still being held by the Israeli regime’s police, a move their families decry as a method of collective punishment.
The lawmakers held a meeting with the families of the attackers in occupied East Jerusalem and demanded the bodies of the attackers be returned to their families to be buried according to the Islamic traditions.
“We will not give in to the decision of the committee. We will appeal against it. The committee has blindly followed the campaign of incitement and hatred organised by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against us,” said Zoabi. “I will undoubtedly continue tireless efforts for the fair cause of the families to return the dead bodies of the Palestinians withheld by the Israeli police.”
The Joint Arab List said that the burying of the dead is a duty acknowledged by all major religions and the demand to return the bodies is perfectly legitimate.
The list condemned the decision as a miserable, anti-democratic and unethical one that aims to punish representatives of the public for taking a moral stand.
“The vindictive punishment will not deter us and we will keep fighting against the policy of racism and fascism and for true equality and real democracy, which Netanyahu is doing his best to eliminate,” said the Joint Arab List in a statement.
The meeting of the three Palestinian lawmakers with the families of the Palestinian attackers promoted a public uproar in Israel where Netanyahu and the Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein and about 500 members of the Israeli public filed a complaint with the Knesset Ethics Committee against the lawmakers demanding harsh punishment for the three.
The Israeli opposition backed Netanyahu and lodged a similar complaint with the committee.
The Knesset on Monday approved a bill providing for the suspension of Knesset members if it is backed by 90 Knesset members.
The bill allows the Knesset to unseat a lawmaker for a period that the Knesset members deem fit.
by Nasouh Nazzal