Arab MK claims ‘persecution’ after questioning over insults to cops

Arab MK claims ‘persecution’ after questioning over insults to cops

Suspected of incitement against Israel and insulting police officers, Hanin Zoabi says investigation is 'superfluous'

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

MK Hanin Zoabi seen leaving the "Lahav 443" unit of the Israel Police on August 11, 2014, (photo credit: Flash90)
MK Hanin Zoabi seen leaving the "Lahav 443" unit of the Israel Police on August 11, 2014, (photo credit: Flash90)

Arab MK Hanin Zoabi launched a scathing attack on her critics after she spent hours on Monday being questioned by police for alleged incitement and offending two policemen.

As she left the police’s Lahav 433 compound in the town of Lod, where officers grilled her for five hours over an incident last month, the Balad MK, who is from the Arab city of Nazareth, spoke with reporters.

Zoabi declared that the proceedings were “a superfluous investigation, that is part of the persecution against me.”

Several dozen right and left wing demonstrators had gathered outside the compound. As Zoabi passed, the right wing protesters called out “terrorist” while the left wing activists countered with cries of support for the MK.

She was sent home and police will consider the conclusions from the questioning before forming an opinion on what to do next.

The MK criticized the way the police and the legal system had treated her.

“They thought that they would get me on such an insignificant incident,” she said. “They should compare the things that I said in the court with the dozens of things and announcements of Knesset members and ministers,” she said. “With the wild and direct incitement by Liberman against me.”

“In this country the racists are those who judge democracy, and those who want to protect it and equal rights and the right to protest find themselves under investigation,” she continued.

A week ago the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided to open an investigation against Zoabi after two policemen, apparently Arabs themselves, complained that, during hearings for the extension of arrest for Israeli-Arabs who demonstrated against Operation Protective Edge, she insulted them with a spiteful outburst. According to Ynet, Zoabi called them “collaborators with the oppressors of their own people” and said that “they should be used to wipe the floor.”

Last month Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said he would appeal to the Central Elections Committee to disqualify Zoabi and her Balad party from running in the next Knesset elections and accused Balad of being “a party of traitors.”

Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 flotilla sail to Gaza organized by the Islamic IHH group in Turkey, recently angered right-wing lawmakers with articles she penned that they interpreted as advice to Hamas on how to defeat Israel and as a call for violence against Israel.

“The Israelis want a short campaign, the civilian population cannot stomach a prolonged conflict and there are many surprises not only on the military level but also with regard to the number and range of the rockets,” she wrote in an op-ed for Felesteen, an Arab-language publication. “We must declare popular resistance instead of security coordination, besiege ‘Israel’ instead of negotiating with it and unite instead of splinter,” she wrote.

In the article, the Jewish state’s name appeared between inverted commas — a style used by some Arab writers to refer to Israel without implying recognition of its legitimacy.

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