Jonathan Lis
July 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi will be stripped of her right to address the Knesset and to participate in committee votes until the end of this parliamentary season, the Knesset Ethics Committee ruled on Monday.

The decision to penalize Zuabi, a lawmaker from the Balad party, comes in the wake of her participation in the Gaza-bound flotilla last year. Zuabi, who sailed on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, had already had certain parliamentary rights revoked by Knesset last July.

Zuabi will still be allowed to vote in debates at the Knesset plenum, the ethics committee ruled Monday.

The MK dismissed legitimacy of the committee's decision, declaring that the question of "whether my actions were legal or not will be determined by the court, and not by a committee comprising a rightist majority".

In the wake of Zuabi's participation in the flotilla, the Knesset voted last year to revoke three of her key privileges as Knesset member: her diplomatic passport, entitlement to financial assistance for legal assistance and the right to visit countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

Zuabi in turn petitioned the High Court of Justice in order to have her privileges returned, claiming that the aim of stripping her rights was to limit MKs' "political activities, especially those of minority representatives." The petition also accused the Knesset of overstepping their authority.

The Israeli Arab MK was embroiled in another controversy last week when she pushed a Knesset guard who was seeking to remove her from the plenum hall, an incident for which she apologized thereafter.

Zuabi was being ushered out of the parliamentary session after interrupting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech and after being called to order three times by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The parliamentary workers' committee had threatened to withhold services from Zuabi if she did not apologize. The MK said she had been trying to free herself from the guard and leave the hall on her own.


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