Arab Knesset member confronted over flotilla participation


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Likud Party lawmaker called for the removal of an Israeli-Arab Knesset member who sailed with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. 

Miri Regev of Likud and Hanin Zoabi of the Balad Party had a heated exchange Wednesday during a Knesset debate on the Israeli Navy’s interception of six ships early Monday morning that led to the deaths of nine activists.

"Zoabi is party to a double crime — joining terrorists and a moral crime against the State of Israel," Regev said, according to Haaretz. "She must be punished. We don’t need Trojan horses in the Knesset."

Regev also shouted at Zoabi in Arabic, "Go to Gaza, traitor."

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli soldiers acted against the activists on board the ships "with equanimity and heroism."

"We regret the loss of life – but give full backing to the soldiers and to the IDF regarding this action," Netanyahu said at the start of a meeting Monday with his security Cabinet shortly after he arrived in Israel following a visit to Canada, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

"We know from the experience of Operation Cast Lead, and from before it, that war materiel which enters Gaza is directed against our citizens. In Gaza is an Iranian-sponsored terrorist state. Therefore, we try to prevent the entry of war materiel into Gaza, whether by land, sea or air. True, they smuggle war materiel through tunnels, but smuggling via the sea is completely different, quantitatively."

Prior to the meeting, Netanyahu visited soldiers wounded in the incident at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

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