On 7 January 2009, Adalah submitted its detailed response to the Central Elections Committee (CEC) to a motion filed by Michal Ben-Ari from the far-right National Union Party to disqualify the United Arab List and Arab Movement for Change (UALAMC) party from participating in the upcoming elections to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. The response was filed by Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Abeer Baker.
The disqualification motion claims that the UALAMC supports terrorism by backing travel to “enemy states” and that the party’s members do not identify with Palestinians and “enemy entities”.
In its response, Adalah argued that the UALAMC is the largest Arab party to take part in the current round of elections and that it calls for adherence to democratic principles and a solution to the Palestinian issue through recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to freedom and self-determination via the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel on the June 1967 borders, in keeping with related UN resolutions.
The response relied on the affidavit provided by the chair of the UALAMC, Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour, who detailed the principles of the party and its tireless work in the Knesset over the years in support of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the state’s policy of discriminating them in civil and social issues, including education, health, social welfare, the economy, infrastructure, religious services, Islamic Waqf property, etc. He also discussed the UALAMC’s work in raising cases of social justice that concern all citizens of the state.
In the response, Adalah stated that members of the UALAMC have participated in the drafting of 170 bills that are at various stages of being legislated. Among the laws that they have helped initiate are: Regulating the Work of the Health Professions Law (2008); the Local Councils Law (Legal Consultation) (2007), which aims to supervise the work of local authorities; and a law cancelling the merger of the local authorities of the villages of al-Shaghur and al-Carmel (2008). Among the many bills that are still being discussed are a draft Basic Law: Civil Participation and Equality for Arabs; a draft Basic Law: Equality in Housing; and a draft law proposing tax deductions for academics (2006); and a draft law for a national day of equality and combating racism (2008).
Adalah Attorneys Jabareen and Baker stressed that the motion to disqualify the party has no legal basis and that none of the evidence contained within it conforms to the criteria set by the Supreme Court in various decision regarding the minimum standards for the disqualification of a political party from elections, which are denying the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and supporting terrorism. Adalah further argued that preventing party lists from standing for election is a blatant violation of the constitutional rights of those who stand on these lists to stand for elect, as well as the constitutional right of the public which votes for them to elect their representatives to the Knesset. Adalah added that the fact that Ben-Ari relied in the motions on incomplete quotations taken from newspapers and Internet websites and taking them out of context indicates that the motion is politically motivated and aims to harm the constitutional right of the representatives of the NDA and their constituencies.
The Central Elections Committee will hold a session to discuss the motions on 12 January 2009.
Supreme Court Decision (Hebrew)
Adalah’s Appeal (Hebrew)