Adalah Files Responses to Disqualification Motions

Motions to Disqualify Arab MK Haneen Zoabi and the Joint List are Legally Baseless

For more information on the disqualifications and the upcoming elections click here

Today, 11 February 2015, Adalah, on behalf of Arab MK Haneen Zoabi and the Joint List (of Arab political parties), filed responses to motions to disqualify them from running in the upcoming Knesset elections to the Central Elections Committee (CEC). The disqualifications motions claim that MK Zoabi “supports the armed struggle of terrorist organizations”, pursuant to Article 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset.


The CEC will hold hearings and decide on the motions tomorrow, Thursday 12 February at 10:00 am at its Knesset headquarters.


The disqualification motions against MK Zoabi were submitted by MK Avigdor Lieberman and members of his Yisrael Beiteinu party, and members of the Likud, including MK Yariv Levin. In response to these motions, Adalah General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen argues that many of the statements attributed to MK Zoabi in the disqualification motions been falsified or abridged. Further, not a single statement indicates that she supports the armed struggle of a group classified as a terrorist organization.


Moreover, according to Israeli Supreme Court precedent, a candidate may not be disqualified from running in the elections on the basis of sporadic remarks. The law requires that it must be shown that the statements in question are repeated and form a central part of the candidate’s ideology, and constitute support for the armed struggle of a group classified as a terrorist organization.


The disqualification motions focused on three statements made by MK Zoabi. The first and main statement was made during a radio interview in which she said that the kidnappers of the three Jewish Israeli teenagers studying in a yeshiva in the occupied West Bank [June 2014] “are not terrorists… even if I don’t agree with them.” In the same interview, MK Zoabi explained that she did not support the kidnappings.


The response emphasized that MK Zoabi has a clear political stance: she supports the popular struggle of the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and she is against inflicting harm on any civilians. However, what apparently angered those behind the disqualification motions was the fact that in her statements MK Zoabi gave equal weight to the value of the lives of people on both sides of the conflict.


The second statement appeared in an article by MK Zoabi in which she calls for the “blockade of Israel”. The authors of the disqualification motions claim that her intention in the article was to impose a military blockade on Israel. Adalah appended to its response an expert opinion by a professional linguist, Dr. Salman Masalha, in which he conclusively states that, given the context in which the article was written, MK Zoabi was referring to a political and not a military blockade. Dr. Masalha pointed out that MK Zoabi wrote in the article that, “We must… proclaim a popular resistance.” Her use of the term “popular resistance” [popular struggle] unequivocally indicates that she was referring to a popular, unarmed resistance, as opposed to an armed struggle. The term “popular resistance”, as it appears in the article, cannot be understood by an Arabic reader to mean support for an armed struggle by any side, stated Dr. Masalha.


The third statement is a set of statements made by MK Zoabi against Arab police officers in Israel who represented the state at court hearings to extend the detention of dozens of Arab Palestinian minors who were arrested during mass demonstrations that swept the country this past summer. Adalah argued that MK Zoabi made these statements due to her extreme emotions at what occurred in court, and that they do not represent her style or her way, and that she did not mean to harm anyone.


In response to the motion submitted by extreme right-wing activists to disqualify the Joint List, Adalah emphasized that it is frivolous and part of a racist discourse against the Arab Palestinian representatives in the Knesset. The authors of the motion also use unacceptable and racist language throughout the document.


Adalah called on the CEC to reject the disqualification motions against MK Haneen Zoabi and the Joint List and to allow the Palestinian minority to freely exercise its full rights to political participation.


For more information, contact:

Salah Mohsen, Adalah Media Director,, 052-595-0922

Tom Mehager, Adalah Media Coordinator,, 052-436-6355