High Court rejects Zoabi's appeal against Knesset

Balad MK: Court sending anti-democratic message; Levin: Judges to blame for Zoabi continuing to support terror within Knesset.

February 14, 2013 16:42
2 minute read.
Zoabi arrives at court

Zoabi arrives at court 370. (photo credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad)


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The High Court of Justice is avoiding making a decision on the legality of the last Knesset’s decision to revoke Balad MK Haneen Zoabi’s parliamentary immunity, she and MK Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) said on Thursday, after the court dismissed Zoabi’s appeal against the vote.

An extended panel of seven justices dismissed the case, because it saw no reason to “dedicate [the court’s] limited resources to the examination of a theoretical question,” since the 18th Knesset was dissolved, and Zoabi, as a member of the 19th Knesset, has parliamentary rights again.

The House Committee in the 18th Knesset, led by Levin, revoked Zoabi’s diplomatic passport and her right to be compensated for legal expenses, among other parliamentary rights, in May 2010, following her participation in the Gaza protest flotilla. Zoabi, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel petitioned the High Court against that decision in November of that year. MKs Eitan Cabel (Labor) and Amram Mitzna (Livni Party), who was not an MK at the time, submitted a similar petition.

“The court’s decision is an undignified attempt at avoidance. Judges have to do their job and judge,” Levin said on Thursday.

According to the Likud Beytenu MK, this is yet another example of cases sitting in court for years, while the rights of those involved are trampled.

Levin blamed the court for allowing Zoabi to “continue to stand at the head of terror supporters in the Knesset and carry a diplomatic passport, which I was able to revoke in the last Knesset.”

“The court’s decision harms me yet again,” Zoabi said. “The job of the High Court is to make legal rulings, and in my case, to decide if the Knesset House Committee’s decision was legal and constitutional.”

According to Zoabi, the court discussed her case eight months ago, seven months before recent election, and as such, should not have dismissed it.

ACRI and Adalah also said that the court had time to make a decision, as it had heard arguments months before the 18th Knesset was dissolved.

“The court’s claim that the issue is theoretical is baseless. This is a political question involving rights, freedom of expression and the foundations of pluralism in any civilized, democratic government, and the ruling could have shown the illegitimacy of the House Committee’s behavior. Leaving the matter as-is sends an anti-democratic political message,” Zoabi added, expressing concern that the committee may behave the same way again.

“The court could have prevented an illegal and undemocratic step that exemplifies the tyranny of the majority,” Adalah and ACRI said.

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