Monday, February 22

Suspension of MK’s from the Knesset - Is it Justified?

English: MK Haneen Zoubi. I lightened and crop...
English: MK Haneen Zoubi.  עברית: עברית: חברת הכנסת חנין זועבי (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: MK Jamal Zahalka עברית: חבר הכנסת ג'מ...
English: MK Jamal Zahalka עברית: חבר הכנסת ג'מאל זחאלקה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MKs Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas were suspended for four months, and MK Jamal Zahalka was suspended for two months. All the lawmakers are from the Joint Arab List's Balad faction.

Suspending Knesset members for meeting with Palestinian families over the return of the bodies of Palestinian terrorists and somehow exhibiting empathy with them by standing in silence to respect their memory is indiscreet. It also conveys a message to Israelis that there is an understanding on the part of these MKs for stabbing attacks against innocent people. While they did condemn terrorism it was more a message of blaming the occupation and its influence of frustration on the Palestinian mind that causes these attacks. The way these MKs handled the situation lacked total sensitivity to the feelings of those who lost family because of these stabbing attacks as well as the victims who survived these attacks. This cannot be justified under any circumstances. We must also understand that the Arab MKs do not view the conflict and its solution in the same way as the majority of Israelis. They somehow feel a certain bond with the Palestinians in the occupied territories. This explains their attitude towards them even though many abominable acts of terror against Israelis are committed by them.  

Having said that, these MKs did not break the law and breaking the law is the only reason that can be viewed as justification for suspension or expulsion from the Knesset. Expulsion of MKs for meeting with parents of terrorists for condolence purposes, as distasteful as it is, is not a reason to delegitimize them in the eyes of those who elected them to the Knesset. The Israeli Government wishes to pass a law to delegitimize them, but the debate ended in chaos, and possible legislation in that direction will be a threat to Israel’s democracy. It could have very wide interpretations and the ruling coalition could abuse this law to delegitimize the right of other MKs to oppose them, if it is felt that opposing views constitute treachery in their eyes.

The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, is a traditional Likudnik of Revisionist Jabotinsky mode, and the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, are opposed to enacting a law that delegitimizes MKs that have meetings with enemies according to ruling government definition of such.

The reasons for the stabbings is not because of the occupation of territories since the 1967 June War (In Palestinian minds, it began in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel - Al Naqba - The Catastrophe). The education system in the Palestinian Territories is geared to brainwash youngsters to hate Jews and it is considered an honor to kill as many as possible. Palestinian TV and the social media such as Face book and Twitter are full of propaganda against Israel and the Jews as well as dehumanizing them. It is very clear that the Palestinian leadership, whether it is Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, do not want a non-Muslim country (Israel) in their midst as they believe that they have no right to exist here according to Islam. All the rhetoric over the years in the Palestinian Campo reflects that and even before the Six Day June War of 1967.

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