Herzog-Livni union announced that it will no longer support the petition to bar anti-Israel Palestinian MK Hanin Zoabi, in move to ensure Arabs endorse Labor’s Herzog as PM.
The Zionist Camp, which only on Thursday announced it would support a petition filed with the Central Elections Committee to disqualify controversial Balad MK Hanin Zoabi from participating in the March 17 elections, has reneged, announcing Monday that it will not back the move.
The petition, filed last week by Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, states that Zoabi’s outspoken support of an armed Palestinian struggle against the State of Israel, as well as past statements in which she negated Israel’s existence, are in violation of Basic Law: The Knesset.
Zoabi, who was suspended from the Knesset for six months by the Ethics Committee in October, is slated sixth on the Joint Arab List’s ticket, which represents the Balad, Ra’am-Ta’al and Hadash Arab parties.
Sources in Labor-Hatnuah’s joint list attributed what has already been called an “embarrassing change in position” to the Zionist Camp’s concerns that backing the petition may prevent Joint Arab List Chairman Aiman Ouda from endorsing Labor leader Isaac Herzog as the next prime minister.
In the Israeli political process, once elections are held, the president asks all party leaders to endorse one of them as prime minister, after which the president tasks him or her with forming the government.
On Thursday, when the Zionist Camp announced it would support the motion to bar Zoabi from vying for a Knesset seat, as well as a motion to disqualify extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel from doing the same, it labeled both as “extremists whose actions reek of incitement, racism and hatred, to the point of infringing on democracy.”
By Monday, however, the Zionist Camp had changed its tune, saying, “We do not approve of MK Zoabi’s harsh statements, nor of Baruch Marzel’s racist positions, but we will wait for the attorney general’s brief on the motions prior to making our final decision on the matter.”
The Likud party criticized the Zionist Camp’s zigzag on the issue.
“The fact that Herzog, [Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi] Livni and the Zionist Camp have sided with MK Hanin Zoabi is not a coincidence — the Arab MKs have already said that Herzog has asked them for their endorsement,” a Likud source said.
Yahad leader MK Eli Yishai also commented on the Zionist Camp’s decision to back out of the petition, saying, “Herzog, Livni and [Meretz chairwoman] Zehava Galon are in cahoots with the Arabs to bar Baruch Marzel [from vying for a Knesset seat], but they seem to have no problem with Zoabi, despite the fact that she was on the Marmara.”
Yishai was referring to the Mavi Marmara vessel, which led a 2010 flotilla that attempted to breach the maritime blockade placed on the Gaza Strip. Zoabi’s participation was investigated but she was not indicted. A petition filed by several right-wing groups with the High Court of Justice to compel the state to file criminal charges against Zoabi was denied in December 2013.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=23425