MK Danny Danon (Likud) said Wednesday that he had already collected 10,000
signatures on a petition demanding that MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) be banned from
running for reelection in January.
Danon has accused Zoabi of having
undermined Israel for participating in what he called the “terror flotilla” –
the Mavi Marmara ship to Gaza that the IDF intercepted in May 2010. Israeli sea
commandos were met with armed men aboard the top deck, and subsequently killed
nine Turkish citizens while trying to gain control of the ship.
not allow the appropriation of democracy in order to hurt the state from
within,” Danon, the head of the World Likud organization, said in a statement
Wednesday. “Zoabi used her immunity in order to support a terrorist struggle
aimed at killing Israeli soldiers. There is no room for someone like this in
Israel’s Knesset – her place is in a jail.”
In a mass mailing on state
letterhead – rather than that of the Likud Party or his own as an MK – Danon
outlined the reasons why he thinks Zoabi should be banned.
her participation in the flotilla, her call for “an intifada-style struggle” and
declarations she has made in support of terrorism against Israelis.
reaction, Zoabi told The Jerusalem Post that the campaign is not really about
her or the Balad Party, but is a “very dangerous campaign” against the “right of
the Palestinian citizens in Israel to elect their own representatives” to the
“Danon is not an exception. He does represent the extreme
right-wing, but he also represents a tendency in the Israeli public opinion to
have racist attitudes,” Zoabi said.
She pointed out a study, conducted by
Dialog and published in Tuesday’s Haaretz, which indicated that one-third of the
Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset. In
another startling finding, she noted that 59 percent of the survey’s respondents
believe there should be a preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in
“This is really not about the flotilla and not
about an individual event or activity, or about me,” Zoabi said. “It is about a
general tendency of the Israeli public toward very racist political culture and
values, which really undermine the values of democracy, pluralism and
“I don’t see myself as just representing Palestinian rights. I
see myself as also representing Israeli citizens who believe in democracy and
don’t want to see the collapse of freedom of expression.”
The Balad MK
said her party promotes a vision of equality and democracy. “All of the other
parties, the Likud, Kadima, Labor... are not innocent in the creation of this
She added: “A normal society, a normal state, has an
interest to support my party, because by doing this they support having the
basic conditions of democracy.”
So far, attempts by Danon and others to
have Zoabi disqualified from running have been rejected by the Elections
Balad, headed by Jamal Zahalka and founded in 1995, currently
holds three Knesset seats.