Hanin Zoabi: “I Won’t Leave My Homeland”

There are only seven of 120 member of Knesset who are Palestinians, four from the Ta’al Party and the rest from the Balad Party, including Hanin Zoabi. Though from minority group, Zoabi always strongly defense the rights and the interests of Palestinians in Israel.

Therefore, it’s not surprisingly if this unmarried 42 year-old woman has been always taunted and criticized from the ultra-nationalist and religious politicians. The pressure against her came to peak in July last year. The Ethic Committee revoked Zoabi’s three rights as member of Knesset: her diplomatic passport, legal assistance, and was not allowed to visit the countries which have no diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Those sanction caused by her participation in Gaza aid flotilla mission, two months before. In that time, she went on board Mavi Marmara and became a witness against the incursion of Israeli navy commando which killed nine volunteers.

The Committee yesterday expanded the sanction for Zoabi, who was born in Nazareth. Zoabi can’t give her opinions during debates in committee and could not participate in vote until her duty period expires next year.

However, those sanctions didn’t worry her. “I will stay as a member of Knesset,” she said to Faisal Assegaf via her mobile today.

These are the following excerpts:

What is your comment on that decision?
It was a political decision because of my participation in Gaza flotilla last year. Those sanctions came out because the majority member of the Ethic Committee from the right wing groups.
Also, it was a discriminative campaign against us and the Palestinians we are represented.

So, what are you going to do?
I will observe everything and I am going to appeal against the decision. I will also take the step internationally.

Do you have any plan to appeal to the UN Human Rights Council?
I am considering that.

This was not the first time that you have been discriminated. Do you still want to stay as member of Knesset?
I will stay to defense the interests the Palestinians. If I resign, it does mean I allow them to continue their discriminative policies against the Palestinians. This is a challenge to run a democratic system.
I want to prove that Zionism is contrast against democracy. Israel frequently views democracy and equality were a challenge for their security.

When that time comes for you to decide for leaving Israel?
I stay in Israel is not I want to keep my Israeli citizenship. This is my homeland and I will not move from here. The Israelis did immigrate to my homeland. We will continue our struggle against racism in my homeland.

If the UN recognizes the state of Palestine next September, do wish to move out from Israel?
I will never leave my home land. That recognition is only a solution for the Israel’s occupation. It’s not a solution for the repression and discriminations against Palestinians.

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