Court Hears Arguments to Ban Arab Party from Knesset

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel elections
MK Ayman Odeh, seen Wednesday during a court hearing at the Supreme Court in Yerushalayim. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has been the target of attempts to ban his party from the Knesset, petitioned the High Court on Wednesday to disqualify the Israeli-Arab Hadash-Ta’al party from running in the elections.

Ben-Gvir, who is himself a well-known lawyer, charged that Hadash leader and Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh should not be allowed in the Knesset after he refused to condemn bombing IDF soldiers in an interview with Israel Radio, The Jerusalem Post reported.

When Odeh was asked whether detonating a bomb against IDF soldiers was legitimate, he replied that he does not choose what is legitimate and what isn’t. Ben-Gvir quoted him as saying that “the Palestinian nation decides what is fitting” with regards to using violence and that he supported Palestinian “resistance” against Israel.
High Court President Esther Hayut challenged Adalah director Hassan Jabareen

to interpret Odeh’s comment as other than support for terrorist activity.

Jabareen countered that the comment was too ambiguous to be the basis for disqualification from the Knesset.

Ben-Gvir responded that Odeh and his comrades have supported killing IDF soldiers and settlers.

“Allowing these people to run for Knesset puts Israeli democracy in danger,” he added.