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