Israeli Member of Knesset (MK) David Rotem, member of the fundamentalist Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, headed by Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, intends to file an appeal to the Central Elections Committee demanding it to prevent the National Democratic Assembly (Balad) Arab party from participating in the upcoming Israeli elections.Rotem stated that the Yisrael Beiteinu party considers the Balad party to be a “supporter of terrorism”, and that the party “is hostile towards the existence of Israel as a Jewish democratic state”.
Two days ago, the Knesset decided to hold parliamentary election on January 22, 2013. The decision was made after 100 Members of Knesset (MK), out of 120, voted for early elections, and set January of 2013 as the official date for the new elections.
The National Democratic Assembly (NDA) stated that as “Israel prepares for elections, racist voices are starting to call for preventing its list from participating, while other fundamentalist MK’s are calling for preventing MK Hanin Zoabi from participating in the elections because she was part of the Freedom Flotilla that was sailing to Gaza and was attacked by Israel on May 31, 2010, when the army killed 9 Turkish solidarity activists”.
The NDA said that it will not bow down to pressure from fundamentalist extremist parties, adding that it rejects the request that was filed by MK Rotem, and also rejects that demand the was set forth by Likud MK, Ofir Akunis, who called for banning Zoabi from participating in the elections.
Akunis is the deputy head of the Central Elections Committee of the Knesset; he filed an appeal to the Committee’s head, Elyakim Rubinstein, demanding him to bar Zoabi (Balad) from running in the upcoming Israeli Knesset elections.
Akunis claimed that his demand is based on Section 7A of the Knesset Basic Law that forbids persons who “support terrorist organizations, or the agendas of enemy states, from participating in the elections”.
He alleged that by participating in the Freedom Flotilla to break the Israeli siege on Gaza, “Zoabi manifested her support for terrorism”.
Earlier this month, Likud Mk, Danny Danon, demanded the Central Elections Committee to prevent Zoabi from participating in the elections, and said that “Zoabi belongs in jail”.
Danon claimed that “Zoabi used his parliamentary immunity to support terrorism, and terrorists who tried to kill Israeli soldiers”.
He said that Zoabi “continues the path of former MK Azmi Bishara who, according to Dannon, “fled the country after he was convicted of aiding Hezbollah party during the second Lebanon War”.
He further stated that “the difference between Zoabi and Bishara is that Bishara verbally attacked Israel, while Zoabi participated in a violent and a terrorist flotilla that harmed Israeli soldiers”.
Responding to the statements of Dannon and Rotem, the National Democratic Assembly issued a statement saying that “the NDA will counter this vicious and racist campaign that targets democracy”.
The NDA added that those calls to prevent it from running in the elections “only convict the Israeli political system, and prove its racist nature as a system the allows fascism to overrule democracy”.
The NDA also stated that its stances are clear and not hidden under vague agendas;
“We are against a Jewish State; our political program is based on a democratic state that represents all of its citizens, as for the claim that the Assembly supports terrorism, we are struggling against terrorism, the real terrorism practiced by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people who are struggling for freedom and independence, we do not only support this struggle, we believe our struggle is an essential part of it”.