Joint (Arab) List MK Hanin Zoabi on Monday called for the prosecution of the Israeli security forces personnel who killed the terrorist Nashat Milhem last weekend, after he opened fire on troops who came to arrest him.
“The fatal shooting of Nashat Milhem was a liquidation, because the security forces could have arrested him,” she told Palestinian media. “The person who shot him dead must be prosecuted.”
Milhem was killed in a shootout with police and the Shin Bet on Friday, a week after he killed three Israelis — Alon Bakal, Shimon Ruimi and Ayman Shaaban — during a shooting spree in Tel Aviv, and then fled a massive police for his hometown in the northern Israeli town of Arara. According to officials, Milhem, who was located after an extensive manhunt, was not affiliated with any organized terror group, but is believed to have been motivated by a jihadist ideology. He opened fire on security forces when they came to arrest him in his home village of Arara, police said; they had been given orders to take him alive if possible, but were unable to do so.
Responding to Zoabi’s remarks, Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman urged the state to cancel a plea bargain recently signed with her under which she avoided incitement charges. On Thursday, she was instead indicted for “insulting a public official” during an incident last year in which she branded Israeli Arab policemen as traitors.
“I turned to the attorney general to demand he cancel the plea bargain signed between MK Hanin Zoabi and the state,” Liberman said. “I demand that, in lieu of that, Zoabi be indicted for threats and incitement to racist violence.”
Liberman said he would appeal to the High Court of Justice if the attorney general declined his request.
Zoabi later responded to Liberman, accusing the foreign minister of “inciting” against the Arab community in Israel.
“Mr. Liberman himself incites and threatens serious violence against the Arab population again and again,” she said. “He is in no place to preach and determine the appropriate conduct.”
The controversial Arab lawmaker last week apologized for calling Arab policemen traitors during a demonstration in Nazareth in 2014. The apology is part of the plea bargain, which allowed Zoabi to dodge the more serious incitement charge for the July 2014 incident, during which she accused an Arab police officer of treason against his people, a statement interpreted by officials as a call for violence against Arab Israeli officers.
Zoabi has been the subject of previous investigations for incitement and has seen numerous failed attempts by fellow lawmakers to remove her from parliament.
A vociferous critic of the Israeli government and society, she came under fire for taking part in the May 2010 flotilla to Gaza that ended in a deadly clash between pro-Palestinian activists and IDF troops. In 2014, the MK refused to use the label “terrorists” for those who abducted and killed three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.