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Fracas in Israeli Parliament Triggered by Arab Lawmaker Calling Soldiers “Murderers”

A major fracas broke out in Israel’s parliament (Knesset) on Wednesday when Hanin Zoabi, a radical legislator serving on the Joint Arab List broke into a tirade and called the Israeli soldiers who participated in the 2010 boarding of the blockade running ship the Mavi Marmara, “murderers.” Nine demonstrators aboard the ship who were armed and fought with the naval commandos died in the battle that ensued when the Israelis rappelled onto the deck. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized to Turkish President Erdogan and is paying $21 million in reparations to the families of those that were killed. After Zoabi spoke from the podium several of her colleagues demanded she return and apologize only to be met by additional vitriol from Zoabi and angry retorts from other members of Knesset. Before the dust settled, five others in addition to Zoabi were escorted from the plenum. Zoabi is well known for her unabashed opposition to the state of Israel and to the body in which she serves. Prime Minister Netanyahu said after the melee that he is asking the attorney general to seek the means of expelling Zoabi from the parliament. Before that, the Ethics Committee will respond to multiple complaints lodged against Zoabi which could result in her suspension from the body. Through her outburst, Zoabi help to further a pending bill that would allow for the expulsion of lawmakers who support terror or racism, or deny Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state. Opponents say the bill is anti-democratic on its face but many draw the line at the sight of elected members of the Knesset advocating for anti-Israel forces: more often than not with Zoabi in the forefront.