During a raid of Hamas's office in the West Bank town of Tulkarm last month, an IDF unit found a photograph of MK Hanin Zoabi (National Democratic Assembly) in which she is seen alongside senior Hamas officials.
Zoabi was photographed while standing in a room with four other people, among whom was Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and Maryam Saleh, the former women's affairs minister in the Hamas government in Gaza. The Hamas officials have both served prison sentences in Israel for belonging to a terrorist group.
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Following the discovery of the picture, Zoabi said, "This meeting took place two years ago, and it wasn't a secret meeting. The photos were published back then as well. I don't see anything wrong with it. Hamas was elected in democratic elections and it represents the Palestinian people. The whole world recognizes Hamas. Therefore, it's about time that Israel also recognizes it and sits down with its leaders. The main terror is not done by Hamas, rather by the occupation, and the Israeli army and the Israel Security Agency [Shin Bet] should worry about stopping the occupation."
The publication of the photograph drew outraged responses on Wednesday from the Israeli political system.
MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) said he would act to disqualify Zoabi from running in the next general elections, and added that, "Arab MKs continue to cross all boundaries and use Israeli democracy in order to kill it from the inside."
MK Uri Yehuda Ariel (National Union) said, "We're talking about a traitor who still deserves to be tried for treason for the Marmara events."
In criticism of both Zoabi and United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmad Tibi, MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said, "Ms. Zoabi and Mr. Tibi act like they are on a reality TV show trying to win the hearts of terrorists from Gaza. The hour has come for the attorney-general, the courts and the Knesset to unify and kick them out of the race and return them to Gaza like any other [reality TV] castoff."
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel demanded that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein order the opening of a criminal investigation into Zoabi's meeting with the Hamas officials. "Her photographs prove that her loyalties are suspect," the forum said.
Meanwhile, IDF soldiers arrested Aziz Dweik on Thursday when he pulled up in his vehicle at the Jabaa checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said he was arrested for involvement in terrorist activities.
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