Knesset suspends Arab lawmaker for flotilla participation


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli-Arab lawmaker was suspended from parliamentary debates for the rest of the term for sailing with last year’s flotilla to Gaza.

Hanin Zoabi of the Balad Party was stripped of her parliamentary benefits by the Knesset Ethics Committee on Monday after three other lawmakers filed complaints against her participation last year in the flotilla on board the Mavi Marmara, on which nine Turkish activists were killed after Israeli commandos stormed the ship.

The ethics committee ruled that Zoabi cannot address the Knesset or vote in committee debates through the end of the summer session. Last year she was stripped of her diplomatic passport and lost her right to visit countries with no ties to Israel. Zoabi will still be allowed to vote in the Knesset plenum, however.

"The very participation in the flotilla, which was intended to break the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip as part of the armed conflict with Hamas, constitutes an action which hurts state security and does not fall within a Knesset member’s legitimate freedom of action," the committee said in its decision, according to Ynet. 

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