Israeli high court allows Arab MK to run

Dec. 30, 2012 at 8:46 AM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Israel's Supreme Court unanimously overturned a Central Elections Committee decision to disqualify an Arab Knesset member.

The court said Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi of the Balad party could run in the upcoming elections, Israeli media reported Sunday.

"This ruling proves again that the Central Elections Committee is a political body that abuses its authority and allows politicians to bar their rival for ideological reasons," Zoabi told Army Radio shortly after the high court decision.

A statement issued by the Likud-Beitenu party called the nine-panel judge's decision "regrettable," Ynetnews.com reported.

"We regret the Supreme Court's decision to allow Knesset Member Zoabi to vie for a Knesset seat," Ynetnews reported the party said in its statement. "Given the court's interpretation of the law, it is obvious that the law must change and clearly state that anyone supporting terror is automatically disqualified from being a Knesset member."

Last week in a 19-9 vote, the election committee called to ban Zoabi from running in the elections because of her involvement on the Gaza flotilla boat Mavi Marmara in May 2010, saying she supported terrorism and rejected Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Israeli commandos boarded the boat after calls to stop heading toward Gaza were ignored. In the ensuing violence, nine Turkish activists were killed and a number of Israeli commandos injured.

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