Right-wing Parties Seek to Ban Arab Parties From Upcoming Israel Elections

MKs cite support for the 2010 Gaza flotilla and the denial of Israel as a Jewish state.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Right-wing lawmakers have asked the Central Elections Committee to bar United Arab List-Ta'al and Arab party Balad from the January 22 vote - citing support for the 2010 Gaza flotilla and the denial of Israel as a Jewish state.

MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu ) - chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee - wants the Balad slate banned, and Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) and Aryeh Eldad (Otzma Leyisrael ) want both Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al banned.

MK Ofir Akunis (Likud ) wants to disqualify MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad ) as a candidate for the next Knesset.

The Basic Law on the Knesset lets the election committee disqualify candidates or slates whose platforms deny the existence of Israel as a democratic state, incite to racism or support armed struggle against Israel.

Eldad and Ben Ari mentioned comments they say prove that the parties should not be allowed to run for the Knesset. They note Zuabi's presence on the Mavi Marmara, a ship that tried to run Israel's blockade on Gaza in May 2010. They added that Zuabi told Al-Jazeera that her party sought to "come out against the Zionist enterprise, against the definition of the state as the Jewish state."

Eldad and Ben Ari also cited a May 2010 Channel 2 interview with United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi, who said "the way you pressure prisoners in jail, we will pressure Gilad Shalit." Tibi said Sunday that this statement had been taken out of context.

According to Osama Sa'adi, secretary general of United Arab List-Ta'al, "As in every election, the extreme right tries to revoke MK Ahmed Tibi's and United Arab List-Ta'al's basic right to represent their voters." Sa'adi said Tibi supported nonviolent struggle and that his party would fight the attempt to ban it from the election.

David Rotem.Credit: Tess Scheflan

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