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Israel bars Haneen Zoabi from re-election
Published Wednesday 19/12/2012 (updated) 22/12/2012 13:31
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel's electoral authority barred a Palestinian lawmaker from re-election on Wednesday, saying she had supported the nation's enemies by joining a protest ship that tried to break a naval blockade of Gaza.

Haneen Zoabi is expected to appeal to Israel's highest court which has overruled most previous efforts to disqualify Palestinian candidates as violations of free speech.

Israel's Central Elections Committee voted 19 to 9 with one abstention to block Zoabi's candidacy for the Jan. 22 general election, a committee spokesman said. Separate motions to disqualify two Palestinian political parties were defeated.

Zoabi was on board the Mavi Marmara ship which was boarded by Israeli troops as it approached waters off Gaza in May 2010 as part of an international flotilla challenging Israel's blockade on the enclave.

Nine Turkish citizens were killed, striking a huge blow to relations between the two countries.

The electoral committee disqualified Zoabi on two grounds: "negating Israel's existence as a Jewish state" and "support for an enemy state or terrorist organization engaged in armed conflict against Israel," spokesman Giora Pordes said.

Centrist and left-leaning Israeli lawmakers argued against disqualifying Zoabi.

"We cannot deny representation to people who disagree with us," said Nitzan Horowitz of the left-wing Meretz party.

Zoabi belongs to a tiny party in Israel's parliament that believes the country should not be defined as a Jewish state, which it sees as discriminatory toward the minority Palestinian population.

Most of the Palestinians who make up about 20 percent of the Israeli population are related to or descended from Palestinians who fled or were driven away in a 1948 war over Israel's establishment.

Zoabi has insisted she had no role in any of the violence on board the Mavi Marmara and had tried to mediate between the sides.
1 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/12/2012 21:06
The episode did produce one Israe-classic: one of the committee members justified his decision as follows: "... “I am a doctor and believe in preventive medicine. You don’t have to wait for people to be caught spying or committing treason before barring them from running.” ..." Actually -- unless you are a fascist state -- you do have to wait. But one could hardly expect an Israeli to be aware of that.

19/12/2012 21:53

3 ) matt / usa
19/12/2012 22:47
@1 think of the irony. An arab elected to office in an israeli state. you would call israel a fascist state, what of all the arab countries? have they elected any jews?

4 ) @ Colin-1 / USA too
19/12/2012 22:58
Israel DID "actually wait for people to be caught committing treason before barring them (Zoabi) from running,” so forget your "fascist state" claims, except for the PLO & Hamas when suspected collaborators are just murdered, and Israel should have gone further and NOT voted against "motions to disqualify two Palestinian political parties that were defeated".

5 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
19/12/2012 23:21
Zoabi is a poor MK. She spends all her time defending foreigners (Arab non-citizens) and does little or nothing to enhance the status and well-being of the people she represents, or is supposed to represent, Israeli Arabs and Israeli citizens in general. Zoabi is representative of reasons why Arab parties in Israel receive 50% fewer votes at election time than what one might otherwise expect proportionally from such a large ethnic group (20%). Their needs are not identified by Zoabi.

6 ) BritishLebanese / London
20/12/2012 02:23
Zionism is Racism, ban it in Israel & peace will come to the Middle East

7 ) jjvanka / Netherlands
20/12/2012 04:03
Sad, but not unexpected. Here's a BBC interview [20100714]: http://www.jjvanka.net/imag/bbc_zoabi.htm

8 ) bilbo / the shire
20/12/2012 07:47
interesting how a suspected criminal (the one and only russian bouncer, AVIGDOR) could run for elections but not someone who stands up for the rights of others...eeeek!

9 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
20/12/2012 08:32
Naw, we aren't a real democracy like you Americans, Colin. From the get-go of Israel's re-establishment in 1948 we actually gave the vote to the natives/ As history shows, you Americans allowed only white men to vote and denied the natives democracy while you built and expanded your settlements (like the one you live in now). One could hardly expect Americans like you to appreciate a democracy that wasn't built on genocide and ethnic cleansing - like you in America.

10 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
20/12/2012 08:37
The Israeli justice system will of course prevail, and Zoabi will be allowed to run as she should. Weakling Israeli legislators tried to ban her, but Israel is still a land of law and order and the Arab parties will be allowed to run. I don't like her politics, but Israel is a strong democracy and its minorities are indeed represented in parliament. And for Colin-Israel has always had Arabs in parliament. History shows you banned natives and blacks for 200 years. You're the true fascist, Colin.

11 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
20/12/2012 08:55
Part I): Normal Arab voting rates in Israel: 53%; normal Jewish voting rates: 65%. Arabs have shown a preference for wanting one party tp represent them as opposed to the current three. They also feel unrepresented due to MKs like Zoabi who makes a big flash but does little or nothing on behalf of the constituency which she is actually supposed to represent. Zoabi is more a representative of the non-citizen Westbank population of Arabs and therefore has little value to Israeli Arabs.

12 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
20/12/2012 09:03
(Part 2): There are other ultimately ineffective Arab MKs who make a big splash similar to Zoabi such as Ahmed Tibi. The Arab Israeli public often vote for non-Arab parties because they believe their needs will be better represented by them. Given Israel's mishappen electoral system (you vote for parties, not direct representatives answerable to you), the Arab public is pretty much right. Finally, Zoabi really did commit treason and should be eliminated from the Knesset if not arrested.

13 ) Jerusalemite / State of Palestine
20/12/2012 10:18
Dear Mrs Zoabi: With full respect for you, I think you should be happy and not upset if the Nazi-Zionist parliament barred you from participating in it. All Zionist-Israeli members in Kenest have participated a war crimes against Palestine & Palestinian people.

14 ) Giacomo / USA
20/12/2012 14:17
Zoabi committed sedition by actively participating in the attempted breaking of her own government's rightful inspection of materials coming into Gaza, a territory at war with her own country, Israel. The (UN) Palmer Report has ruled that these inspections are legal and justified. Instead of incarcerating Zoabi, the Israeli justice system allowed her to continue to receive government funding and will now determine if she can continue to do so. Israel is the only true democracy the ME knows.

20/12/2012 15:52

16 ) Noor / One-State
20/12/2012 15:55
All those arab israeli groups are all supporters (except isrealiarab mb) of Syrian Govt Side..

17 ) rt / nablus
20/12/2012 22:33
i know him..

18 ) Z - man / USA
21/12/2012 02:42
How dare she even run in an election of a State she does not recognize. What a hypocrit.

19 ) Patrick C / USA
21/12/2012 16:32
To B Cohen, white, Israeli-firster, liar - No ethnic cleansing? 3/4 million Palestinians were violently forced from their homeland in '48 and replaced with white settlers from Europe, while the almost the same amount of Palestinians were forced out in 1967. Even Israeli historians know this. Your colony mirrors the worst aspects of the US.

20 ) Tony B? / ME
21/12/2012 17:43
One thing Wright conveniently misses about this issue is that if she was living in Gaza and had conspired with the enemies of the Hamas government, she would have been shot dead and dragged through the streets from the back of a motorcycle.

21 ) Carlos / usa
23/12/2012 16:23
Hypocrisy is israels trade mark. Freedom of speech is non existent. Democracy is a joke. Boycott israel. I am doing my part by not buying intel chips in my computers. I use AMD chips. Intel is a loser.

22 ) Outsider / EU
24/12/2012 00:49
3) Yes, Matt. Morocco.
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