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United Arab List

Justices weigh ban on Balad, United Arab List

United Arab List 39%

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The Supreme Court yesterday heard a petition to reinstate two Arab parties banned from the February election by a Knesset committee. Nine justices heard the appeal against the Central Elections Committee decision last week to disqualify Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al for incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist. The law states the Supreme Court must rule by Thursday, although the justices opinions are not expected to be published until later. Before the hearing, Yisrael Beiteinu chair Avigdor Lieberman called it a fundamental debate, the first time the court has addressed the line between loyalty and disloyalty. However Lieberman commented that the court did not need to get involved in the matter at all, calling it a collision between the judicial and legislative branches. Lieberman and Arab MKs Talab el-Sana and Ahmed Tibi clashed outside the courtroom. Sana yelled at Lieberman, "You're a new immigrant and you're inciting all the time. You can go to hell - you're here to collect votes at the expense of the Arab public." Lieberman fired back "You're a terrorist and represent terrorists. We will deal with every terrorist, just like we handled Hamas." The Arab parties' attorney argued in the hearing that there is no evidence to support the decision to disqualify the parties and that there was no evidence of "explicit and active support" of terror organizations' armed struggle against the state of Israel. Regarding Balad members daily contact with disgraced party leader Azmi Bishara, the lawyer stated "there is no law against contact with him, he has not been declared a terror organization." Bishara left the country amid accusations of treason in April 2007. Counsel for Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu said that a party that was de facto established and led by someone who committed treason is seeking to run for Knesset. The attorney general's representative in the hearing emphasized that the consistent precedents from the court require the court to accept the appeal. She argued that the committee "did not meet the concrete tests for disqualification of Knesset lists. We know that some positions of the ultra-Orthodox parties do not entirely meet the criteria for democracy, but I doubt anyone is considering disqualifying them."


Wed., June 24, 2009

source: www.haaretz.com

autor: Tomer Zarchin


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