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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Israeli Court Overturns Decision to Ban Haneen Zoabi From Upcoming Elections

Source: Al Arabiya News
Submitted by H-s Tamimi

Israel’s High Court has ruled to overturn Elections Committee's decision to ban Palestinian Arab and an Israeli citizen Haneen Zoabi from standing in upcoming elections, The Jerusalim Post reported Sunday. 

Responding to the High Court decision in a press interview Ms. Zoabi said although she respects the High Court decision, it doesn't mean Israel is “100% democratic,” adding that the judges had “avoided giving in to the racist right.”

Zoabi, who is the first Arab Israeli woman to be elected to the Israeli legislative body on an Arab party's list (Balad), added that “this ruling proves again that the Elections Committee is a political body that abuses its authorities and allows politicians to bar their rivals for ideological reasons.”

“However, this decision does not erase the threats, the de-legitimization, and the physical and verbal violence that I experienced at Knesset and outside of it in the past three years,” she added. 

Zoabi was also determined to continue acting the way she has done thus far. “Balad and I would not allow anyone in Knesset or outside of it to define to us and to the Arab public what our legitimate positions are and what are the limits of our political activity.”

Zoabi participated in the 2010 Gaza flotilla aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara when Israeli forces intercepted its journey and killed nine Turkish men aboard.

She was disqualified by the Israeli Elections Committee last week, in a 19-9 vote, despite Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein recommending that she be allowed to run. The committee approved the ban on the grounds that Zoabi supported terrorism and rejected Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Likud party spokesman, MK Yariv Levin responded angrily to the decision by saying it is clear the existing law “has to change” describing the decision as a “scandal,” claiming that it exposes Knesset and the Israeli army to terror.

Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka had said following the decision last week that if Zoabi is disqualified, Balad would not run.

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