International Reports

ADALAH:: Central Elections Committee Disqualifies MK Haneen Zoabi from Running in the Upcoming Israeli Elections

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19 December 2012

Central Elections Committee rejects disqualification motions against NDA-Balad and the United Arab List * Adalah represents Arab political parties and MK Haneen Zoabi
(Jerusalem) Tonight, 19 December 2012, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) approved motions submitted by the Likud to disqualify MK Haneen Zoabi from the upcoming Knesset elections by a majority vote of 19-9, with one abstention.
However, the CEC voted not to disqualify Arab political parties Balad/Tajammoa’ (the National Democratic Assembly - NDA) and the United Arab List (Ra’am-Ta’al).
The CEC’s decision to disqualify MK Zoabi is not final; it requires the approval of the Israeli Supreme Court, which will hold a special hearing at the beginning of next week.

The disqualification of MK Zoabi followed a lengthy session of the CEC this morning in the Knesset to decide on election disqualification motions filed against the two aforementioned Arab parties and MK Zoabi.
NDA-Balad and MK Zoabi boycotted the session, while Adalah represented the parties and MK Zoabi.

Attorney Hassan Jabareen, Adalah’s General Director, represented MK Zoabi on a disqualification motion submitted by MK Ofir Akunis of the Likud.
Attorney Jabareen argued before the Committee that, “The Supreme Court will scoff at the evidence presented on the issue of negating the Jewish nature of the state.
” Regarding the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the ship, the Mavi Marmara on which MK Zoabi was a passenger along with a group of human rights activists protesting against the blockade of the Gaza Strip, he argued that, “It is odd that the disqualification motion makes no mention of the Attorney General’s position, issued after an exhaustive investigation of the soldiers and after studying all the investigatory materials, that there is no basis for charging Haneen Zoabi with assaulting the soldiers.
” Attorney Jabareen added that the motion also “disregards the Turkel Commission’s report, which clearly concluded that Zoabi was below deck on the ship and was not involved in any clashes with the soldiers.

Attorney Jabareen further argued that, “There is no court in the world today that tries people on the basis of ideas; the court has to try people on the basis of their daily work and their systematic activities.
And in the case at hand, which involves the disqualification of a parliamentary candidate, the disqualification motion before us does not talk about the activities of MK Zoabi in the parliament at all.

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher added before the CEC that, “The disqualification motion ignores MK Zoabi’s rich record in the Knesset.
She has submitted 46 bills, 64 inquiries, and 124 proposals for the Knesset’s agenda, all of them in the fields of education, health, human rights and other social rights, including activities that affect all women in the state, or, for example, that relate to Ethiopian women.
” Attorney Zaher emphasized in particular a bill to raise the legal age of marriage and for appropriate representation for women in local authorities.

Attorney Zaher concluded by saying that, “This disqualification and the incitement against MK Haneen Zoabi is not only directed against her as an Arab woman or because of her political positions, but it goes beyond that.
It rises to the level of racist incitement against her as a woman.
MK Zoabi has faced repellent and racist, masculine statements denouncing her, for example, just for being an unmarried woman!”
Today, the CEC also voted against disqualification motions filed against the United Arab List, by a 17-7 majority, and against Balad/Tajammoa’, by a 16-13 majority.
Adalah Attorney Orna Kohn represented the two party lists against the motions, which were submitted by the Strong Israel political party and David Rotem of Yissrael Beiteinu, among others.

Attorney Kohn argued before the CEC that, “The criminal evidence against the two parties is in no way sufficient to disqualify them, as most of the evidence is based on newspaper quotations taken from internet websites, evidence which the Supreme Court has ruled to be very weak.
” She further revealed that some of the quotations used in the disqualification motions could not actually be found at the cited sources, and that the beginning and end parts of the recorded evidence against MK Ahmad Tibi had been cut, leaving only a few seconds of the recording, and therefore had been presented outside of its true context.