1948 Palestinian MK Suspended From Running in Israeli Elections

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Arab-Israeli member of parliament, Haneen Zuabi argues with Israeli Occupation Forces as Palestinians gather near the entrance of the al-Aqsa mosque compound to protest Israel restrictions on October 15, 2014. AFP/Ahmad Gharabli

Published Friday, February 13, 2015

1948 Palestinian member of Knesset Haneen Zuabi, a regular critic of Israel's right-wing government, was banned Thursday from standing in next month's general election.

The elections committee gave no reason for the disqualification, reported on its website, but Zuabi's lawyer Hassan Jabareen said it was because she was deemed "hostile to the Jewish state."

The committee also banned extreme right winger Baruch Marzel, a follower of radical rabbi Meir Kahane who was assassinated in 1990.

A member of the left-wing 1948 Palestinian Balad party, Zuabi, 45, had previously been banned ahead of the 2013 election in a move later overturned by the Supreme Court.

The country's top tribunal must also rule in this case.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

In 1948, with the end of the mandate, a new state — Israel — was declared inside historical Palestine.

As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Zionist forces.

Palestinian citizens of Israel, who account for about 20 percent of the population in Occupied Palestine, are the descendents of Palestinian who remained on their land when the Zionist state was established in 1948. They complain of routine discrimination, particularly in housing, land access and employment.

Zuabi rejects a two-state solution where the Zionist state can be established alongside an independent Palestinian state. Instead, she supports the idea of a single state in which Jews and Palestinians have equal rights.

Like Zuabi, numerous Palestinians as well as pro-Palestine advocates support a one-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians would be treated equally, arguing that the creation of a Palestinian state beside Israel would not be sustainable and that it would mean recognizing a state of Israel on territories seized forcefully by Zionists before 1967.

They also believe that the two-state solution, which is the only option considered by international actors, won't solve existing discrimination, nor erase economic and military tensions.

Zuabi's opponents accused her of “backing enemies of the state” by participating in a 2010 bid to break Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. An Israeli commando raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla killed nine Turkish activists.

The latest action against her was brought on by members of the governing right-wing Likud party and the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party on the grounds that she supports the "armed struggle against Israel."

Zuabi was suspended from parliament for six months in July after declaring that the Palestinians who murdered three Israeli settlers were not terrorists, a punishment she called “disproportionate” and “discriminatory.”

Last month, Israel's four 1948 Palestinian political parties decided to fight the March 17 election as a single block. Zuabi is seventh on that united list, which opinion polls have suggested could win between 10 and 13 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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