Israel Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Arab Politician

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Israel's Supreme Court on Sunday overturned a decision by the Central Elections Committee banning Arab-Israeli politician Haneen Zuabi from standing in next month's snap general election.

"Following a hearing on 27/12/2012, it was decided unanimously to reject the Central Elections Committee's decision... to prevent representative Haneen Zuabi from standing for elections for the 19th Knesset," a summary of the court's decision said.

The summary, which was released ahead of the full decision later on Sunday, did not explain why the court was overturning the committee's decision, but confirmed that Zuabi would be able to stand in the January 22 vote.

A member of the Arab-Israeli leftwing Balad party, Zuabi is a controversial figure in Israeli society.

A firebrand critic of the government, Zuabi has regularly tangled with rightwing members of the Knesset, who sought to disqualify her from running in the next election.

They argue that she fails to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and backed enemies of the state by participating in a 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla that was raided by Israeli commandos in an operation that killed nine Turkish activists.

Speaking to public radio after the court ruling, Zuabi said she was happy with the result.

"I welcome the Supreme Court's decision. This is what I expected," she said.

"I don't regret having participated in the Mavi Marmara (flotilla). I know what I did," she added.

"There was no legal basis for the (committee's) decision, which was based only on political considerations," she said in a separate interview with Israeli military radio.

"The Supreme Court has not succumbed to pressure from the racist right wing."

Israel's elections committee, which is composed of representatives from political parties, has in the past voted to ban Balad, as well as another Arab-Israeli party and other Arab Israeli politicians, from elections.

But those decisions were overturned by the Supreme Court, which had again been expected to strike down the decision banning Zuabi's participation in the January poll.

Comments 13
Missing phillipo 30 December 2012, 14:17

Surely the very fact that a 9-member panel of the Supreme Court of Israel can re-instate an Arab Member of Parliament must show that the law of Israel is equal to all.

Missing phillipo 30 December 2012, 16:50

If you would actually take a few minutes to read the news, would find that on many occasions the Israeli courts have demanded that the Ministry of Defence move the wall that they are building because of claims from Arab farmers that they will be cut of from their lands.
2. you will also find that many buildings in places like Silwan in East Jerusalem and Hebron which were occupied by Jewish settlers have been returned to their Palestinian owners because of court cases.

Missing helicopter 30 December 2012, 21:25

Better than what the Arab Countries have *** definitely **** but equal *** not by a long shot. Rights of Palestinians are tramples on daily by settlers and by the Government.

Default-user-icon bilal (Guest) 30 December 2012, 16:19

agree or not The only democratic country in the middle east is israel

Missing phillipo 30 December 2012, 16:55

Why do you say 1 arab member of Parliament will have no influence.
Read up and you'll find that in the present parliament, before the elections on 22nd January, there are 11 Arab MK's in solely Arab parties aswell as several others in other parties. Their total representation in Parliament is approx. equal to their representation in the total population.
There have been an Arab Minister, Arab Deputy Ministers, Arab Deputy Speakers of Parliament, heads of Parliamentary committees etc.

Default-user-icon John Marina (Guest) 30 December 2012, 17:54

Why do you call her "Arab member", she is a Palestinian and she is treated as a Palestinian by the Israeli law.

The media must stop using the word "Arab", we are Lebanese, Palestinians etc.

Missing phillipo 30 December 2012, 18:28

anonymetexasusa - when your State Department issues a report on the lack of human rights for many minorities in the US, (should I tell you about the treatment of the American Indians, the Mexican immigrants, the Moslem immigrants, etc., then people around the world will take notice of their report on the Human Rights of Arab Israelis.

Missing phillipo 30 December 2012, 18:35

Equal rights - ask the member of the Supreme Court, ask the judges of the district and municipal courts, ask all the lawyers, doctors and surgeons, (including directors of hospitals and hospital departments), ask the police officers, government officials, ambassadors and consuls, mayors and local council members etc. etc. Dare I even say, ask Arab Army Officers.
As presumably you hold a US passport, perhaps you should go there and see things for yourself instead of relying on onesided information from people who have never been on the spot.

Thumb ghada12 30 December 2012, 19:58

Whey is this philipodude intent on presenting Israel as the nice guy that it's not? Are you Lebanese? If so, how can you defend a country that looks at us, it's neighbors from the north, as mere collateral damage to its willy nilly entry into our country as if it is a pleasure shooting range? Yesterday the excuse was the Palestinians, today, the excuse is Hizbullah, tomorrow, the salafis? what about after tomorrow, the men on the moon? Israel has to be have conflict in order to show the world what a poor victim it is and when no conflict exists, it will create it. Who are you Philipo and what do you want?

Missing phillipo 30 December 2012, 21:21

As I have stated on more than one occasion I am British, and have studied Middle East politics ever since I was at Uni. 50 years ago.

Missing phillipo 31 December 2012, 00:00

"how can you defend a country that looks at us, it's neighbors from the north, as mere collateral damage to its willy nilly entry into our country as if it is a pleasure shooting range?"
Sorry, I forgot to ask you, which country was it which tore up a peace agreement drawn up with Israel in the early 1980's? Just in case you forgot, it was Lebanon. So don't blame Israel for everything, you could have been living in peace with her for 30 years by now.

Thumb ghada12 31 December 2012, 00:34

I personally did not tear up anything nor did I sign anything nor did I plant bombs anywhere but from your logic, I deserve for my house to be destroyed and for my children to be murdered because your poor besieged israel which incidentally has the world super power behind it, not to mention canada it seems these days, and super intellectual philip whose hobby is to study middle east politics for over fifty years and from a nice safe distance,is not to blame for being a lousy neighbor.

Missing phillipo 31 December 2012, 11:55

ghada12 - sorry I don't understand your way of thought. I specifically said "which country" I didn't blame you personally.
If there had been peace for the last 30 years between Lebanon and Israel then your fear of having your house blown up etc could never have happened.