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Israel court: Haneen Zoabi can run in upcoming election
Published Sunday 30/12/2012 (updated) 31/12/2012 15:41
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel's Supreme Court ruled Sunday that a Palestinian-Israeli lawmaker could stand in elections, overturning her disqualification by electoral officials over her participation in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010.

The nine-justice court ruled unanimously Haneen Zoabi "shall be a candidate for the Knesset" in a Jan. 22 poll without giving details of its reasons.

Zoabi drew widespread criticism in Israel for taking part in an international aid flotilla that challenged the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, territory ruled by Hamas.

She was on the Mavi Marmara when Israeli naval commandos raided the Turkish vessel in May 2010, killing nine Turks in clashes with activists on board.

The Central Elections Committee voted on Dec. 19 to disqualify Zoabi, saying she had shown "support for an enemy state or terrorist organization engaged in armed conflict against Israel".

Zoabi has said she had no role in any of the violence on board the Mavi Marmara and had tried to mediate between the sides during the raid.

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan criticized the ruling saying Zoabi had been involved in "expressing solidarity with our enemies".

Zoabi told Israeli Army Radio the judges had "avoided giving in to the racist right".

The Central Elections committee, which authorizes parties' candidates ahead of votes, is chaired by a Supreme Court justice and made up of legislators from a number of political factions.

It has tried several times in the past to disqualify Arab political parties for alleged disloyalty to Israel, only to be overruled by the Supreme Court on appeal.

Zoabi belongs to the tiny Balad party that believes Israel should not be defined as a Jewish state, but instead be a democracy for all its citizens.

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

They are full-fledged citizens, although rights groups say that Palestinians living in Israel face discrimination in employment, education and public funding.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
30/12/2012 17:17
Of course she can run. Despite the attempts of a minority of my weak-kneed and racist countrymen, Zoabi has the right to stand for re-election and represent her constituency. We're not an apartheid country like Palestine, where Jews are not allowed to live and cannot stand for election. There is a small number of cowardly Knesset members who are afraid of Zoabi. The majority of us are not.

2 ) CAHANNAH was THROWN OUT / OF THE KNESSET
30/12/2012 18:30
FOR MUCH LESS than what that woman did ONLY IN ISRAEL ARABS GET BETTER TREATMENT THAN JEWS

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/12/2012 20:36
Well, in keeping with Israel's attempts to interfere in OUR elections, what can I do to help Zoabi to win?

4 ) Robby Martin / Ireland.
30/12/2012 21:03
Nice comment Colin :) @Brian, before the creation of the zionist entity Palestinian Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in peaceful harmony, the advent of zionism put paid to that.

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/12/2012 21:10
To Brian Cohen #1: 'We're not an apartheid country...' No, you're considerably worse. After all, South Africa wanted to make bantustans; you won't permit them.

6 ) Rune Lombardo / Denmark
31/12/2012 00:34
No, they are not full fledged citizens, that is simply not true, they have different id's and among other things are denied access to 80% of residential areas which are controlled by Zionist organisations!

7 ) antizio / maroc
31/12/2012 14:25
take your knesset to usa.see if they will accomadate u all

8 ) Robert Haymond / Israel--Gush Etzion
31/12/2012 17:24
In fact, Rune #6, Arabs and Jews are very mixed in parts of the City of Jerusalem. While it's true that there are Jewish enclaves throughout the Land of Israel, there are also Arab neighbourhoods in cities as well as Arab communities where no Jew dares to go for fear of violence. You really need to leave your own little country and pass on the exhorbinant demonization of the State of Israel so you can come to an objective view, one which you obviously lack at present.
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