TagsThe following is the translation of a speech Haneen al-Zoabi, a member of the Israeli parliament for the Balad Party gave on October 28 in appealing an unprecedented six-month suspension from all parliamentary activity.
Addressing you is one who does not believe anyone is doing her a favour of any sort. No one is bestowing a favour on her by allowing her to represent her people in parliament, or their rights, with strength and, clarity.
Addressing you is one who thinks, works, lives and derives her rights, pride and strength from being a daughter of this homeland, and one who has rights in it.
You can keep me away, but you cannot keep away the issues to which I refer.
No one has yet been born, or will ever be born, who can transform her into a guest or a stranger in her own homeland. No one has been born, or will ever be born, who can put her down.
It is not easy to be a Palestinian in the Israeli Knesset. It is not easy for me to be a member of parliament there because of the large number of the laws that are passed, of the statements that can be heard, of the irrational speeches that are made against my people, against my identity, against my history, against my rights and against my existence.
Members of the Knesset,
Is it difficult for you to hear me? Really? Is it difficult for you to see me “moving about” in this place? Really? Do you think it is easy for me to sit amongst you, who see in my people an enemy that must be fought? You rage in anger when you hear me say again and again that you occupy, repress and commit war crimes? But it is your occupation, repression and racism that provoke even more anger and resentment.
Members of the Knesset,
It is not my manner that angers the enemies of freedom, but the essence of what I say.
Irrespective of whether it is the manner or the content that provokes anger, I will not renounce either of them. I have not overstepped any red lines, or any orange or green ones. When I say “lines”, I mean human, ethical and legal limits.
But yes, I have overstepped the limits of racist, aggressor, right-wing, arrogant and male chauvinist consensus. Doing so is a humanitarian duty.
You can keep me away, but you cannot keep away the issues to which I refer. You cannot keep away the siege of Gaza, or the confiscation of land. You cannot voice slogans against racism and against imposing your will on others by force, while practising those policies yourselves everywhere.
You cannot keep away the struggle for freedom and equality.
The issue is not Haneen al-Zoabi. The issue is your policies and the human longing for freedom