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Police to probe Arab-Israeli lawmaker Zoabi for alleged incitement

(JTA) — Israel’s attorney general instructed police to launch a criminal investigation into the actions of an Israeli Arab lawmaker who allegedly incited others to violence and insulted two police officers.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein gave the order Thursday, the website news1.co.il reported, in connection with the alleged actions of Knesset member Hanin Zoabi of the Balad party. At least one police officer said Zoabi used offensive language against him on July 6.

An officer of the Nazareth police department said that Zoabi approached him and another officer at the Nazareth magistrate’s court and “began making highly offensive remarks and to address people there in a manner which raises suspicion of insulting a civil servant and incitement to violence,” the police said in a statement on July 9, after it recommended starting the investigation.

The statement did not say what Zoabi is believed to have told the officers.

Last week, police in Haifa handcuffed Zoabi for unruly behavior at a demonstration in which protesters clashed with police. She was released thanks to her parliamentary immunity after a senior police officer recognized her.

Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 flotilla sail to Gaza organized by the Islamic IHH group in Turkey, recently angered right-wing lawmakers with articles she penned that they interpreted as advice to Hamas on how to defeat Israel and as a call for violence against Israel.

“The Israelis want a short campaign, the civilian population cannot stomach a prolonged conflict and there are many surprises not only on the military level but also with regard to the number and range of the rockets,” she wrote in an op-ed for Il Felesteen, an Arab-language publication. “We must declare popular resistance instead of security coordination, besiege ‘Israel’ instead of negotiating with it and unite instead of splinter,” she wrote.

In the article, the Jewish state’s name appeared between inverted commas — a style used by some Arab writers to refer to Israel without implying recognition of its legitimacy.

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