Yisrael Beytenu hopes to make Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi the first casualty of the Knesset’s Impeachment Law, as the party began gathering signatures Monday to hold a hearing for her dismissal.
The initiative by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer came after a day after Zoabi called on West Bank Palestinians to cross into Israel and join the Hamas-supported demonstrations on the Gaza border.
“We need to go on popular marches to remind the world of the siege [of Gaza],” Zoabi said. “We need millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem. That is the aspiration. But we can’t do it, because the Israelis would kill them.”
Zoabi also called Israel a “fascist country” which is “only looking for an excuse to kill the Palestinians.” She was suspended from the Knesset for a week last month for calling IDF soldiers murderers.
Forer needs to collect 70 signatures, with at least 10 from the opposition, in order to hold a hearing in the Knesset House Committee.
A final vote on Zoabi’s dismissal would have to be held in the plenum and could only pass with the approval of 90 MKs. While Zoabi is unpopular among her colleagues, that will be challenging.
The petition states, “While the IDF is dealing with security confrontations and acts of terror, MK Haneen Zoabi said at UN headquarters in New York that ‘We need millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem,’ when her intentions are clear. She wants to repeat what Hamas has been doing in recent weeks, to harm Israeli sovereignty and a clear attempt to incite our enemies to harm Israeli sovereignty, IDF soldiers and the Israeli public.”
Impeachment proceedings may only take place against a lawmaker who has incited to violence or racism, or supported armed conflict by an enemy state or terrorist organization against Israel, which are among the reasons cited in the Basic Law: Knesset for banning a party or person from running for office.
Zoabi said in response to the petition, “This is the time to confront the Zionist state with its crimes, because murder and persecution are a crime.”
According to Zoabi, “It’s no wonder that the fascists are talking and the racists of the miserable ‘Zionist Left’ are quiet, in light of political persecution. We, the Palestinians, represent the only sane, democratic and human voice in the Knesset. We are the only ones who understand that democracy is not tyranny of the racist majority and putting human and children’s rights below the ideology of the Zionist majority.”
The MK added, “Israel is marching towards fascism [and] the IDF murders Palestinians.”
The Central Election Committee has barred Zoabi and her Balad Party from taking part in elections in the past, but the Supreme Court overturned those decisions.
Zoabi has expressed identification with Hamas and its aims in the past, including during Operation Protective Edge, when she wrote an op-ed for a Hamas website justifying the group’s rocket attacks and calling for Palestinians to besiege Israel.
JTA contributed to this report.