Israeli Court Overrules Ban on 1948 Palestinian MP Re-Election Bid

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Firebrand Arab-Israeli member of parliament Haneen Zuabi, center, leaves the supreme court in Jerusalem on February 17, 2015 after a hearing related to the central election committee's decision to ban her from standing in next month's general election. AFP/Menahem Kahana

Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Israeli Supreme Court overruled on Wednesday a ruling banning a 1948 Palestinian member of Knesset MP and an extreme right-wing Jewish activist from running in next month's parliamentary election, an official said.

Last week, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) barred MP Haneen Zuabi, a regular critic of Israel's right-wing government, deeming her to be "hostile to the Jewish state."

It also excluded extreme right winger Baruch Marzel, a follower assassinated rabbi Meir Kahane, for alleged racism. Kahane was the ultra-nationalist founder of the Jewish Defense League, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.

"She can be a candidate," a spokesman for the courts administration said of Zuabi. "So can he (Marzel)."

The exclusion orders required the Supreme Court's ratification in order to take effect, and their rejection by the tribunal had been widely expected.

The CEC had also barred Zuabi from standing in 2013 but that decision was nullified.

Palestinian-Israeli legal rights group Adalah said the court's overturning of the ban on Zuabi by a large majority demonstrates the "improper motives" of the CEC, which it said "portrays Arab MPs as supporters of terrorism."

CEC decisions "are not only harming Arab political parties and candidates, but are also violating the basic rights of Arab citizens of Israel, namely their rights to political participation, freedom of expression, equality and dignity," a statement added.

As for Merzel, his attorney claimed that slurs against migrants and Arabs attributed to him were either never made or were misunderstood.

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

Palestinian citizens of Israel, who account for about 20 percent of the population in Occupied Palestine, are the descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land when the Zionist state was established in 1948.

Zuabi, rejects the two-state solution and is an advocate of the one-state solution in which all citizens would be treated equally.

Numerous pro-Palestinian advocates argue that a two-state solution, the only option currently under consideration by international actors, would be unsustainable and that it would not solve existing discrimination, nor would it erase economic and military tensions.

It would also mean recognizing an Israeli state established on territories seized forcefully by Zionists in 1967.

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.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


Zuabi said that Israeli democracy is a sham when she was banned. I wonder if she will praise the non-democracy now. Probably not.

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