Knesset Enables Removing Lawmakers Who Support Attacks on Israel

  • Critics say measure is primarily aimed at Arab Knesset members
  • Legislation was approved late Tuesday with Netanyahu’s support

Israel passed a law enabling the removal of lawmakers who incite racism or support armed struggle against the Jewish state.

Lawmakers voted 62-45 late on Tuesday to approve the measure, which had support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the law, a majority of 90 members of the 120-seat Knesset are needed for a lawmaker’s expulsion, with at least 10 votes coming from the opposition. Opponents have said the legislation is primarily aimed at Arab members of parliament.

Three Arab lawmakers, Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka, were barred from entering the Knesset chamber for as long as four months in February after they visited family members of Palestinians found guilty of killing Israelis. They were there to “console the families of murderers,” Netanyahu said at the time.

The law shows that Netanyahu is “blatantly inciting against the Arab public and its elected representatives, ” Ayman Odeh, who leads a Knesset faction of mostly Arab lawmakers, said in an e-mailed statement. Seventeen Knesset members are Arab, including one in Netanyahu’s Likud party and another in Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party in the ruling coalition.

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