11,000 sign petition to disqualify Balad in election

Danon submits petition, attacking Israeli-Arab party from running for the Knesset, accuses Zoabi of betraying her country.

Balad MK Haneen Zoabi 370 (photo credit: ILENE PRUSHER)
Balad MK Haneen Zoabi 370
(photo credit: ILENE PRUSHER)
MK Danny Danon (Likud) submitted a petition with 11,000 signatures on Tuesday to disqualify the Balad party from running for the next Knesset.
“The leaders of Israeli Arabs want to continue taking advantage of Israeli democracy in order to harm the country,” Danon said.
“In 2006, former [Balad] MK Azmi Bishara betrayed his country from Hezbollah. In 2010 [Balad] MK Haneen Zoabi betrayed her country for another terror organization [participating in the Gaza flotilla, aboard the Mavi Marmara].”
Shortly after the upcoming election was called in October, Danon put a petition on his website to disqualify Zoabi from running.
In the past seven weeks, the Likud MK has gathered 11,000 signatures.
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.
According to Danon, the law protects democracy from people like Zoabi, who “belongs in prison and not in parliament.”
“There’s no difference between the words and actions of an Islamic Jihad member from Khan Yunis and those of Zoabi,” he added.
On Sunday, Likud representative to the Central Elections Committee MK Ophir Akunis gathered the requisite signatures from 13 out of 36 committee members to petition for Zoabi’s disqualification. According to Akunis, there is a majority to prevent her from running.
Also this week, Yisrael Beytenu representative to the Central Elections Committee MK David Rotem, as well as National Union MKs Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari (who have moved to the Strong Israel faction) submitted requests to disqualify Balad.
Final decisions by the Central Elections Committee as to which parties or individuals are disqualified will be released on December 23, one month before the election. The High Court of Justice can overturn decisions until January 1.
Although the committee has disqualified parties and individuals in recent years, including Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al in 2009, the High Court of Justice has overturned all such decisions, except for Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1988 and his Kach party in 1992.
Zoabi expressed confidence earlier this week that the High Court will not allow her or her party’s possible disqualification to stand. If it does, it will have granted legitimacy to turning Israel into a “totally fascist regime,” she said.
“This is the time to choose between fascism and democracy, and for whoever does not want citizens to have free elections, I am one of many targets in a chain of eliminations,” Zoabi said, adding that only “dark regimes” can be proud of disqualifying candidates.
Should she be forbidden to run for the 19th Knesset, a red line would be crossed, she stated: “There’s an automatic majority in the Knesset for fascism.”
Last month, Zoabi submitted a complaint against Danon to the Attorney-General’s Office, saying his petition is illegal incitement that violates her democratic right to run for office.