Israeli-Arab Knesset member says kidnappers are not ‘terrorists’

Ben Bridge

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli Knesset member said the kidnappers of three Israeli teenagers are not terrorists.

“They are people that cannot see any way to change their reality, and they are forced to use these means until Israeli society wises up a bit and sees and feels the suffering of the other,” Hanin Zoabi of the Balad party said Tuesday in an interview with Tel Aviv Radio.

Zoabi participated in the May 2010 flotilla to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and was punished by the Knesset Ethics Committee for her actions. She was aboard the Mavi Marmara, the ship on which nine Turkish passengers were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos.

Several Israeli lawmakers called for Zoabi’s arrest on charges of incitement to violence or terror, and for her removal from the Knesset.

“Not only are the kidnappers terrorists, Hanin Zoabi is a terrorist, too,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said following the interview.

A day earlier, Zoabi had levied harsh criticism against a teenage relative, Mohammad Zoabi, who posted a video on YouTube calling for the release of the kidnapped Israeli teens and showing his support for Israel. The video was in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

Police on Tuesday arrested three of Zoabi’s relatives from Nazareth for threatening Mohammad Zoabi.

JFS

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