Joint (Arab) List MK Hanin Zoabi on Thursday reiterated her claims that the IDF soldiers involved in a May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla were “murderers,” saying the remarks she made a day earlier represented a “world consensus.”
“I represent not just the Palestinian consensus, not just the consensus of my people, I represent a world consensus,” she told Army Radio.
“If I stand on a stage, any stage, [with] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, you know who will be received with applause and who will convince the world,” Zoabi added.
She rejected charges by her interviewer that she was pandering to opponents of Israel and betraying her constituency by making inflammatory remarks about the IDF and focusing on the Palestinian cause instead of issues pertaining to Israeli Arabs.
Zoabi’s statements came a day after Netanyahu asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to explore legal ways to expel the MK from the Knesset. That came hours after she sparked a firestorm in the plenum when, speaking from the podium, she called IDF soldiers “murderers” and demanded they apologize for the flotilla raid.
Responding to her remarks Thursday, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) called Zoabi a “treacherous terrorist” and said she should be immediately removed from the Knesset.
Her comments led to angry shouts from other lawmakers, who attempted to approach the podium and demanded that she be removed.
Zoabi took part in the 2010 flotilla from Turkey that tried to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run coastal enclave.
Nine Turkish nationals, including one with American citizenship, were killed in clashes that erupted when IDF commandos were attacked by those on board the Mavi Marmara, the final ship in the flotilla, and opened fire. A tenth Turkish national died of his wounds years later. A number of Israeli soldiers were also injured in the raid. Zoabi was on board the Turkish-flagged vessel at the time.
“I demand an apology for all the political activists on the Marmara and an apology to MK Hanin Zoabi, for inciting against her for six years and hounding her. You all need to apologize, all of the members of Knesset here,” Zoabi said. “Those who murdered need to apologize, you need to apologize.”
In a statement Wednesday, Netanyahu said, “In her actions and her lies, [Zoabi] has crossed all red lines and there is no place for her in the Knesset.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday evening branded Zoabi a terrorist, writing on Facebook that “IDF soldiers will continue to fight against terrorists on sea, air and land — and that includes terrorists traveling at sea who are members of Knesset.”
Zoabi’s comments came a day after Israel signed a reconciliation deal with Turkey to restore ties, after years of frosty relations exacerbated by the raid. The deal provides for Israel to pay Turkey $20 million compensation over the Marmara raid, a concession objected to by some Israeli politicians.