HAIFA, Thursday, September 29, 2022 (WAFA) - Israel’s Central Elections Committee (CEC) decided today to approve a motion to disqualify an Arab party from running in the upcoming national parliamentary elections.
The CEC voted 9 to 5 to ban the National Democratic Assembly (Balad/Tajammu’), led by member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, Sami Abu Shehadeh, from running in the 1 November 2022 Knesset elections.
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel will appeal the CEC’s decision to the Israeli Supreme Court, which is slated to hold a hearing on the disqualification on Thursday.
In parallel, the CEC rejected disqualification motions filed by right-wing Israeli organizations against the United Arab List (Ra’am), led by MK Mansour Abbas.
Both the United Arab List and the National Democratic Assembly are represented by Adalah.
The motion to disqualify Balad/Tajammu’ was submitted by the Anachnu (“We”) party, which is running in the upcoming elections. Anachnu claimed that Balad/Tajammu’ rejects Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and instead supports “a state of all its citizens”.
In his speech before the CEC, Adalah Attorney Adi Mansour emphasized this claim had been previously brought before the Israeli Supreme Court, which found it insufficient to disqualify a party list or candidates.
The CEC’s decision also contradicts the Israeli attorney general’s (AG) position; the AG opposed the disqualification, noting that the request did not contain sufficient evidence to meet criteria set by the Supreme Court.
The CEC’s decision not to disqualify Ra’am passed by a 14-0 margin.
Attorney Adi Mansour responded to the allegations brought against Ra’am: “Ra’am is a legitimate and legal representative of its constituency – the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement – and it has the full right to represent, to be elected, and to act like any public body that cares for its voters. It cannot be criminalized because there are those who do not like its presence in the Knesset."
Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen responded to the CEC decision: “Israel’s Central Elections Committee is a purely political body, not a legal committee, and it should be abolished. Its decisions are driven primarily by racism and populism, in an attempt to win votes by inciting against Palestinian citizens of Israel and their elected representatives – in particular Balad/Tajammu’. Adalah, on behalf of the parties, will challenge the CEC’s decision before the Israeli Supreme Court.”