Israel is the aggressor not a victim: Arab Knesset member

Ahram Online, MENA , Friday 27 Jul 2012

The outspoken Haneen Zoabi says that last week's Burgas attacks is an outcome of violent policies by Israel, condemns Tel Aviv's endeavors to arrange a moment of silence for Munich athletes at London 2012

Israeli Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi who was on board of the Gaza-bound flotilla when it was raided by Israeli forces Monday, speaks to the press in Nazareth, northern Israel, Tuesday, 1 June 2010. (Photo:AP)

Haneen Zoabi, a Knesset member with Balad, a left-wing Arab nationalist party, told students at Jordan College in Haifa - in northern Israel - that last week's attacks on Israeli tourists on a bus in Bulgaria is a natural outcome of the occupation policies adopted by the self-proclaimed Jewish state, reported the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Zoabi said Israel is "not a victim", as the killing of its civilians represents the price of the government's aggressive foreign policies.

Zoabi, moreover, condemned the Israeli attempts to arrange one minute of silence during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics to mark the murder of 11 Israeli Olympic team members at the 1972 Summer Games.

"If there was no occupation, oppression or siege, the attacks would not have occurred; the Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers deserve to be saluted as well," Zoabi added.

The bombing of the bus at Bulgaria's Burgas airport on the Black Sea killed five Israeli tourists and injured more than 30, Israel's foreign ministry said, in what was the deadliest attack on Israelis abroad since 2004.

The attack came on the anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and wounded 300. That attack was also blamed on Iran, which denied the charge.

Last July, the Knesset Ethics Committee stripped Zoabi of her key privileges for participating in the Gaza flotilla trying to break the blockade on Gaza Strip.

Such privileges included her right to take part in all Knesset discussions, diplomatic passport, and parliamentary funding for legal defence.  They also took away her parliamentary privilege to leave the country even if she is wanted in connection with a felony.

Zoabi described the decision as "an automatic right-wing, racist majority.” The Arab Israeli lawmaker appealed to the Supreme Court, but it was not immediately clear when the court would rule.

The petition, filed by Arab Israeli rights group Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on behalf of Zoabi, said parliament had exceeded its powers.

"Revoking MP Zoabi's rights would create a dangerous precedent that allows the majority’s representatives to punish the minority’s representatives for political activity with which they disagree," they said in a statement. "Such a precedent could shake the foundations of the right to freedom of political expression."

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