Sunday, 18 July 2010
The 'Only Democracy in the Middle East' Strips Arab Knesset Member of Privileges
The Day Israel's 'Democracy' Officially Died
Yes I can hear the laughter of my Palestinian friends. But it's true. You see even Britain, the biggest colonial power the world has known, maintained democracy of the bourgeois type at home even whilst it perpetrated massacres at Amritsar in India and the Hola Camp atrocities in Kenya. It is one of the ironies of imperialism that democracy at home was bought at the price of repression abroad.
But as Karl Marx noted in the Communist Manifesto, a nation that oppresses another nation shall not itself be free. Marx was referring to Ireland but Palestine always was a very similar scenario, as Churchill, Lloyd George and Ronald Storrs recognised.
Haneen Zoabi is the only female Arab MK. She represents the secular Balad. Her crime? Being present on the Mavi Marmara when Israel's navy goons descended on it in international waters and murdered 9 people and beat up and injured 50+ more.
For daring to 'provoke' those who laid a starvation siege on Gaza (the Nazis too were 'provoked' by those they termed 'Jew lovers' who stopped to talk to a Jew) and bringing much needed supplies into Gaza, Haneen Zoabi was subject to a veritable witch hunt, physical attacks and what is clearly an incitement to kill her (a Facebook page calling for her execution garnered thousands of supporters).
To all this that detestable coconut who goes by the name of Obama has nothing to say. Indeed his Vice President Biden is on record as supporting the attack. Israel is there to protect US interests and why should the US be bothered if people are starved in order to protect US friendly regimes. There are of course some idiots who talk about 'Jewish lobbies' forgetting that the biggest such lobby is the decidedly un-Jewish Christian lobby of John Hagee. So it should be understood that the US is no stranger to oppression and dispossession if it works and Israel is, as Kissinger once remarked, an unsinkable aircraft carrier.
The incitement to murder of Haneen Zoabi by the detestable racists of Yisrael Beteinu and Lieberman, with not a squeak out of the governing coalition or the Milliband brothers demonstrates the real 'values' of democracy. And as for the 'only democracy in the Middle East' it is no surprise that their one concession to the trappings of democracy is now also disappearing. From now on, Israel's Arabs will only be allowed to elect those MKs acceptable to the Zionists. Hence they will only be allowed to elect Uncle Toms like Barak Obumah.
But no one should be surprised. A state which denies its Arab citizens the right to lease 93% of its land, whose Arab children have double the infant mortality of Jewish children (the figure is 7 times higher on the West Bank and Gaza) which consigns over 50% of that population to poverty whilst reserving the right to demolish their homes (Jewish homes are of course never demolished to make way for Arabs) is a state whose demise cannot come too soon.
And of course the Israeli Labour Party, as is clear from the Knesset vote, supported the Lieberman's and other racists in the vote to deprive Zoabi of the same rights as Jewish and Zionist MKs.
Knesset revokes MK's privileges over flotilla support
Friday, July 16, 2010
Interview: M.K. Haneen Zoabi (Zou'bi) Diplomatic Privileges Revoked in Israeli Knesset
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies
Israel's parliament revoked the privileges of Palestinian Knesset member Haneen Zoabi on Tuesday for her participation in May's Gaza-bound aid flotilla attempting to break Israel's blockade.
Following the announcement, Zoabi told Ma'an radio that she was expecting the majority of her peers to vote in favor of invalidating her diplomatic passport and revoking her right to receive funding for legal expenses.
"Israel began to incriminate Arab citizens and accuse them of treason, and what I am facing is part of a collective procedure which started with Azmi Bishara, who was accused of treason and espionage, then Sheikh Raed Salah who was sentenced to five months in jail," she said.
Bishara was accused of spying for Syria after he visited the state for a funeral. In response, Israel stripped the MK of his privileges and passed the so-called Bishara law, allowing for the revocation of diplomatic privileges for parliament members who visit enemy states.
After 34 MKs voted in favor, a violent brawl was nearly started between Arab and Jewish MKs after the hearing, the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth reported. Zoabi clapped when the Knesset's decision was announced, and MK Yoel Hasson drew close to her and said "You will soon be a former MK."
Hasson also joined MK Carmel Shama in answering Arab MKs, who were shouting cries of "fascists" towards the Jewish members.
"It is no wonder that a state which denies a million Arab citizens their basic rights is also revoking the rights of an MK who faithfully represents her voters," Zoabi said after hearing the decision, the daily reported.
"This is a dangerous precedent for the Arab public, and a hostile message. Anyway the Knesset imposes limits on our parliamentary and public activity through racial legislation, and privileges would not have lessened these limitations."
The MK added she would appeal to legal and international organizations "in order to curb the vengeful impulses of the automatic majority in the Knesset."
Zoabi was on board the Mavi Marmara, one of six aid boats heading for Gaza, which was raided by Israeli forces on 31 May, killing nine passengers in international waters.
Shortly after, MK Anastassia Michaeli of Yisrael Beiteinu, handed Zoabi an Iranian passport with her picture, Yedioth Aharonoth reported. She was thereafter removed from the plenum.
Before she left Michaeli told Zoabi, "Most of the Arabs in Israel are smart enough and faithful enough to the state to open their eyes after your incitement. You do not represent them."
Earlier Tuesday, Zoabi was present at Salah's final ruling, where she told Ma'an that the five-month conviction for spitting on a border guard was "unjustified punishment."
"This is an exaggeration, and not an objective ruling ... Israel treats Palestinians not as citizens but as enemies. This hostile dealing comes across all institutions, not just politically or in the Knesset, but also the court system, which is supposed to protect the rights of its citizens," Zoabi said.
HARD talk Haneen Zoabi Part 1.wmv: "ludvan64 | July 15, 2010
Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi who has had her diplomatic privileges revoked by parliament has condemned what she calls the civilian 'siege' of Gaza. She was sanctioned this week for taking part in the Gaza flotilla convoy last month.
Knesset revokes Arab MK Zuabi's privileges over Gaza flotilla
The Knesset on Tuesday voted to revoke three parliamentary privileges from Arab MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad) due to her participation in the aid flotilla that sailed to Gaza in late May.
In 34-16 vote, Knesset approves stripping Zuabi of three parliamentary privileges over participation in Gaza flotilla; Zuabi: Knesset is punishing me out of vengeance.
By Jonathan Lis
Thirty-four lawmakers voted in favor of stripping Zuabi's privileges and 16 voted against, after a heated debate, in which Zuabi accused her fellow lawmakers of punishing her out of vengeance.
Zuabi responded to the Knesset vote by saying, "It's not surprising that a country that strips the fundamental rights of its Arab citizens would revoke the privileges of a Knesset member who loyally represents her electorate."
Zuabi went on to say that the vote represents a dangerous precedent with regard to Israel's Arab citizens and is a hostile message toward her. She went on to accuse Israeli parliamentarians of implementing racist laws in order to repress their Arab counterparts.
"In a civilized country, the people who incite against and threaten MK Zuabi would be punished and have sanctions imposed against them," the lawmaker said.
Zuabi said she will seek legal and international aid in order to "rein in the vengeful tendencies of the automatic majority in the Knesset."
The Knesset's House Committee last week recommended revoking Zuabi's privileges after she participated in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which resulted in an IDF raid that killed nine activists.
"You are punishing me out of vengeance," Zuabi told fellow parliamentarians during the hearing. "When you threaten the Arab MKs and the Arabs' protectors, you threaten democracy and co-existence between Jews and Arabs."
"I have the right and the duty to fight for my rights and my values," she continued, adding that "my positions are often different from those of the Likud, Kadima and most of the MKs. That’s why I don’t represent Kadima, the Labor Party or the Likud, but those who voted for me and in my case I represent the consensus of the Arab MKs."
"You have no freedom of choice with regards to the rules of democracy," Zuabi added. "There are fixed rules that do not change at whim. You do not need to protect democracy, but to protect me for democracy's sake."
Last week the Knesset committee recommended rescinding from Zuabi three key privileges, one of which is the privilege to exit the country – meant to prevent Zoabi from fleeing Israel if she commits a felony or has debts in Israel.
Another privilege to be rescinded is carrying a diplomatic passport, which according to the Knesset's legal adviser, is a privilege that does not grant diplomatic immunity so revoking it would not make it more difficult for Zuabi to fulfill her duties.
The third privilege is the right to have the Knesset cover litigation fees of an MK if he or she faces trial.
MK Yariv Levin (Likud), chairman of the Knesset committee that decided on rescinding her privileges, told Zuabi that she doesn’t belong in the Knesset.
"You have no place in the Israeli Knesset, you are unworthy of holding an Israeli ID and you embarrass the citizens of Israel, the Knesset, the Arab population and your family," he said.
Meanwhile, MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) was escorted out of the hall after she handed Zuabi a lookalike Iranian passport with a photograph of her in it, saying that it will serve her on her diplomatic incitement trips.
"In every civilized country, a member of parliament who crosses the red line and identifies with the enemy and arming the enemy with weapons of mass destruction aimed at destroying his country's national foundations will not find in his pocket a diplomatic passport of the country he aims to destroy," Michaeli said.
"Ms. Zuabi, I take your loyalty to Iran seriously and I suggest you contact [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and ask him to give you an Iranian diplomatic passport that will assist you with all your diplomatic incitement tours, because your Israeli passport will be revoked this evening," she added and proceeded to hand Zuabi a lookalike Iranian passport that she had produced for her.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) interrupted Levin and said that the Knesset plenum was not the platform to express his personal feelings but rather the committee's decision.
Rivlin said: "I was not happy with Hanin Zuabi's actions, but if she broke an Israeli law may the Attorney General, who was solely and unequivocally given the power to decide, rise and press charges against her."
"We, as Knesset members, were chosen due to our beliefs. Today it is in our favor, and tomorrow it might not be; there is a complex ideological struggle between what was once left and right," Rivlin said, adding, "I believe that everyone should have the right to speak their minds, even if what they say hurts me."
The House Committee decision to recommend the rescinding of Zuabi's privileges was passed by a majority of seven to one, with MK Ilan Gilon of Meretz opposing.
The Balad party condemned the Knesset committee decision calling it "racist and anti-democratic."
"The MKs who incite against Zuabi spill her blood – they are calling on the public to harm her and following their decision, her life will be threatened," Balad said in a statement. "These MKs will be responsible for any harm that may be caused to her."