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Israel: persecution of Palestinian citizens extends to sanctions on lawmakers 

November 16, 2023 at 10:09 am

Knesset Member Aida Touma-Suleiman on September 3, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. [Thierry Monasse/Getty Images]

The Israeli Knesset’s Ethics Committee has temporarily sanctioned two Palestinian lawmakers, citing “inflammatory remarks” made after the 7 October Hamas-led incursion into southern Israel. MK Aida Touma-Suleiman of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and MK Iman Khatib Yassin of the United Arab List were banned from taking part in Knesset hearings and votes for two months. They also face salary deductions.

Last week, the same committee suspended MK Ofer Cassif from the Knesset for 45 days and revoked his salary for 14 days, for expressing “a connection between the content of the Holocaust and current government policy in times of war.”

“Knesset Ethics Committee suspended me for 2 months for criticising the Israeli army’s action in Gaza,” Touma-Suleiman wrote on X. “Silencing of critical voices of Palestinian citizens and anti-war activists is rampant these days. The war must cease, persecution must end.”

The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and the United Arab List have categorically condemned the committee’s “unjust decision” and described it as a “dangerous escalation of political persecution” and the suppression of voices in the Knesset. The parties said that the committee has now joined the Ben-Gvir police, which launched a fierce and frenzied attack against activists and elected representatives.

The bloc stressed that the call expressed by Touma-Suleiman, demanding a stop to the war on Gaza and the killing of civilians and innocents, is a noble humanitarian position that is not compatible with the crimes and atrocities of the Israeli occupation in Gaza.

It also confirmed that the Israeli regime, along with its various official arms, is unleashing the unrest of the bloodthirsty right wing, with the support of government ministers who called for “the 2023 Gaza Nakba,” while suppressing voices calling for a political rather than a military solution.

“We receive news from time to time about storming Al-Shifa Hospital and interrogating the wounded. How can we describe what the occupation army is committing there?” asked the bloc. “Accountability for simply questioning the official Israeli narrative is also part of this persecution, which seems to be escalating against our representatives for fear of continuing to expose the true face of the occupation after embarrassing it and its leaders on the international stage.”

Both parties expressed support for Touma-Suleiman and Cassif. “We also support everyone who is being persecuted, whether activists or elected representatives, and we emphasise continuing to adhere to our political positions and saying them out loud, despite all attempts to suppress our voices.”

The Israeli authorities have recently frozen the bank accounts of relief organisations affiliated with the United Arab List under the pretext that the sponsorship of tens of thousands of orphans and needy people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is being carried out in cooperation with “Palestinian terrorist entities”.

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