NAZARETH, February 16, 2015 (WAFA) – Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Hanin al-Zoabi, has slammed a decision by the Israeli Central Elections Committee banning her from running for parliamentary elections set for March 17.
Speaking to the Anadolu news agency, al-Zoabi said democracy is nonexistent in Israel, describing Israel’s claim to be the only democratic country in the Middle East region as a “sick joke.”
Last Thursday, the Israeli Central Elections Committee approved the disqualification of al-Zoabi by a vote of 27 to six. According to Israeli media, the committee was formed by the right-wing Likud party chaired by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and far-right Israel Beitenou party.
Al-Zoabi, known for her pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist views, said Israel “does not want to see MPs who struggle for the Palestinian people’s [rights].”
“I am a Palestinian. The Palestinian people’s struggle is mine. This struggle is based on universal values, such as justice, freedom and equality,” she said. “Banning me from running for elections does not target me alone; it rather targets the political struggle of the entire Palestinian people.”
She added, “Israel’s claim that it is the only democratic country in the Middle East region is nothing but a “sick joke … Israel identifies itself as a Jewish country, aiming solely to legalize its oppression of the Palestinian people in their homeland.”
Zoabi told local media she wasn’t surprised by the vote, calling the decision ‘unjust’ and ‘racist.’
“Those responsible for killing civilians in Gaza are the ones who should stand here, not me,” Zoabi said before the election committee. “I stand here against the [Israeli] occupation and siege of the Palestinians.”