The state will not defend a ban preventing Balad MK Haneen Zoabi from running
for Knesset, the State Attorney’s Office declared on Wednesday “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.
court is set to hear the petition about Zoabi on Thursday with a panel of nine
justices, presided over by Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis, and it is
likely it will strike down the ban and allow her to run.
Zoabi has been
one of the most controversial figures in Israeli politics, following her
participation aboard the Mavi Marmara ship during the 2010 flotilla to Gaza. IDF
officers who boarded the ship clashed with Turkish activists and killed nine of
them during the confrontation.
The state, represented by Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein, has consistently opposed the ban on Zoabi, as well as bans on
any political parties.
Last week, Weinstein recommended the Central
Elections Committee not disqualify Zoabi
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.
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 the banning of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party in 1988.Ilene
Prusher contributed to this report.