Knesset to vote on rescinding Arab MK Zoabi’s privileges 12Jul10 July 13, 2010

by Jonathan Lis  -  Haaretz -  12 July 2010

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Monday that the Knesset committee’s recommendation to rescind privileges from MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) will be voted on in the Knesset plenum on Tuesday.

Last week the Knesset committee recommended rescinding from Zuabi three key privileges, one is the privilege to exit the country – which is supposed to prevent Zoabi from fleeing Israel if she commits a felony or has debts in Israel.

The Knesset’s House Committee recommended revoking her privileges after she participated in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla which resulted in an IDF raid that killed nine activists.

The decision was passed by a majority of seven to one, with MK Ilan Gilon of Meretz opposing.

Rivlin said that the vote had been delayed as they were awaiting the Attorney General’s recommendation on whether her actions were illegal and whether she should be charged. Due to the fact that the AG had not yet made his decision on the matter and therefore could not delay the procedures, Rivlin said the Knesset would vote on rescinding her privileges immediately.

Another privilege to be rescinded is carrying a diplomatic passport, which according to the Knesset’s legal adviser, is a privilege that does not grant diplomatic immunity so revoking it would not make it more difficult for Zoabi to fulfill her duties.

The third privilege is the right to have the Knesset cover litigation fees of an MK if he or she is put on trial.

Rivlin, who has opposed the move from the beginning, said last week that he wants to study the decision and to receive the advice of the Knesset’s and government’s legal advisers.

The Balad party on Monday condemned the Knesset’s decision to strip Zoabi of her privileges.

“The decision is racist and anti-democratic,” Balad said in a statement. “The MKs who incite against Zoabi spill her blood – they are calling on the public to harm her and following their decision, her life will be threatened. These MKs will be responsible for any harm that may be caused to her.”

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