MK Danny Danon (Likud) on Sunday reintroduced legislation that would allow for the expulsion of any lawmaker suspected of taking part in anti-Israel campaigns or supporting such causes, just days after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein's controversial decision not to press charges against an Israeli-Arab MK who participated in the Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010.
On Thursday, Weinstein's office closed the case against MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) and other Israelis over their alleged role in the 2010 Turkish-led flotilla that attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has been in place since 2006 as a means to prevent arms struggling. Weinstein cited "legal obstacles and insufficient evidence" in his decision to abandon the case, despite extensive video footage suggesting Zoabi took an active role in the flotilla. Israeli commandos raided the flotilla after it refused to heed several calls to change course, and the event turned deadly when a mob of activists aboard the main vessel, the Mavi Marmara, began lynching several of the troops. Nine Turkish nationals died in the ensuing clashes, with several Israeli soldiers wounded, some severely.
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If approved, Danon's new legislation - which is in the form of an amendment to Basic Law: The Knesset - would allow the Knesset House Committee to hold impeachment hearings against an MK if 30 fellow lawmakers file a complaint with the Knesset Speaker. According to the bill, first introduced in the aftermath of the 2010 flotilla, grounds for impeachment are stipulated as any activity that denies Israel's existence as a Jewish and Democratic state, or an intent to carry out such a denial - either implicitly or directly. This also applies to cases where a Knesset member is suspected of inciting racism or abetting an enemy state or terrorist organization in their armed struggle against Israel. The bill further stipulates that if the committee decides to impeach the MK in question, the proceedings would then move to the Knesset plenum, which will have to vote on whether or not to remove the MK from office. A special majority of at least 80 MKs would have to support the measure before it could take effect. As the courts have traditionally viewed Basic Laws as equivalent to a constitution, repealing this amendment would also require a special majority once enacted.
"Sometimes serving MKs take advantage of the free speech they are entitled to for the sake of damaging the state and its institutions. There has already been one case in which an MK used his status to aid the enemy," the preamble to the bill reads, presumably referring to MK Azmi Bishara, who fled to Jordan in 2007 for fear of being prosecuted over his alleged support of Hezbollah. "The state of Israel must find the means to protect itself from those who use democracy against it."
The law currently allows for the removal of a party from the ballot or the disqualification of a particular candidate on its Knesset list, but not for the expulsion of a serving Knesset member.
MK Danon commented Sunday on his latest push to advance the bill, saying that had the Knesset plenum held a vote on it immediately after the 2010 flotilla, Zoabi's expulsion would have been approved with the necessary majority.
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