Israeli Supreme Court Overturns Elections Committee Decision to Disqualify Arab Political Parties from Running in Knesset Elections
This evening, 21 January 2009, the Supreme Court of Israel overturned a decision by the Central Elections Committee (CEC) banning the National Democratic Assembly (NDA) – Balad and the United Arab List and Arab Movement for Change (UALAMC) political party lists from standing in the upcoming elections to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) scheduled to take place on 10 February 2008.
The court issued its decision in response to an appeal filed by Adalah on behalf of the two Arab political party lists. An 8-1 majority of justices issued the ruling regarding the NDA-Balad, with Justice Edmund Levy as the dissenting justice. The ruling in the case of the UALAMC was delivered unanimously by the nine presiding justices.
Following the delivery of the court's judgment, Adalah's General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen, who represented the two party lists before the court, stated that the disqualification process had been illegal from the outset and contrary to Supreme Court case law. He further stated that what is now needed is the cancellation of Article 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset. According to this law, a party list may be prevented from running for election if its objectives or actions negate the existence of the State of Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state. Attorney Jabareen stressed that in recent years, this law has been used as a tool by the Israeli right-wing for inciting against Arab citizens of Israel and Arab political parties. Attorney Jabareen was joined by Adalah Attorney Orna Kohn in submitting the appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of the parties.
Supreme Court Decision (Hebrew)
Adalah's Appeal (Hebrew)