Arab Israeli lawmaker gets suspended sentence for accosting policemen

Israeli Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi was tried and sentenced for insulting policemen at a court house. She issued an apology as part of a plea bargain.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Hanin Zoabi

MK Hanin Zoabi accosts Israeli policemen. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Hanin Zoabi was sentenced by an Israeli court in Nazareth on Sunday to a six-month suspended sentence for a period of three years and a fine of NIS 3,000 for insulting a public servant and verbally assaulting Arab police officers.

In July 2014, Zoabi, of the Joint Arab List, verbally accosted Arab policemen who testified at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. In the presence of a large crowd, including families of the detainees and lawyers who were waiting outside the court room, Zoabi humiliated the cops and told the crowd that “we should spit in their faces” and “mop up the floor with them,” urging the crowd not to “shake their hand” and threatening that they should “fear us and the Shabab (youths) who are arrested because of them.”

In addition, she called them traitors for serving in the Israeli police force.

The policemen were there to testify at a hearing to extend the detention of suspects who participated in anti-Israel riots in Nazareth in the summer of 2014.

The sentencing was part of a plea bargain signed with Zoabi.

As part of the plea bargain, Zoabi penned an apology letter in which she stated that her words against the Arab policemen “were uttered out of an emotional storm. Such expressions do not represent my style or my way, and I did not mean to harm any person. I’m sorry for saying those things and I apologize to anyone who was hurt. That event was an exception because making improper remarks is not my way.”

The prosecution had initially planned to indict Zoabi for making threats and inciting to racism, a more severe indictment, but according to the agreement with her attorneys she admitted only to the charge of insulting a public servant in return for waiving her Knesset immunity.

“The incident is behind us,” Zoabi stated after the sentencing. She called the entire court case “unnecessary,” and claimed she had nothing personally against any specific individual, that her actions were politically motivated and that she would not cease from combating Israeli policies.

Zoabi is a known provocateur and has repeatedly voiced pro-Palestinian, pro-terror and anti-Israel sentiments in the past, using her parliament immunity as a means to escape legal prosecution.