by Yonah Jeremy Bob, JPost.com Staff
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
The state will not defend a ban on Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, the State Attorney's Office declared Wednesday, indicating that the High Court of Justice will strike down the ban and allow her to run in upcoming elections.
"It is the opinion of the attorney-general that there is no room for the esteemed High Court of Justice to authorize the Central Elections Committee decision to bar MK Zoabi from running in the 19th Knesset," the attorney-general stated.
The court is set to hear Zoabi's petition on Thursday with a panel of nine justices, presided over by Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis.
Zoabi has been one of the most controversial people in Israeli politics, following her participation aboard the Mavi Marmara ship sailing in the 2010 flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Sailors trying to commandeer the ship clashes with Turkish activists on board, and killed nine of them in the ensuing confrontations.
The state, as represented by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, has consistently opposed the ban on Zoabi, and indeed bans on any political parties in Israel. Last week, Weinstein recommended to the Election Committee not to disqualify MK Zoabi (Balad) or the United Arab List-Ta’al, Balad and Strong Israel parties, and to allow them all to run in the upcoming January 22 Knesset election.
The attorney-general said he deemed the evidence gathered against Zoabi to be “disturbing and substantial” and “close to the level of being prohibited,” but ultimately did not reach the “critical mass” necessary for disqualifying her.
Article 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset says that a party list or an individual candidate cannot reject Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incite to violence or support armed combat by an enemy state or terror organization against the State of Israel.
Although the committee has disqualified parties in recent years, including Balad and UAL-Ta’al in 2009, the High Court of Justice has overturned all such decisions, except for Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party in 1988.
Ilene Prusher contributed to this report
Yonah Jeremy Bob, JPost.com Staff
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.