Pro-Arab candidate banned form Israeli election


Israel's Election Commission today voted to disqualify a leading Israeli Arab candidate from standing in January's parliamentary elections.

By 21 votes to 18, the commission barred Mr Ahmed Tibi from the January 28th election, endorsing charges that he supports the Palestinians' violent conflict against Israel.

But the commission rejected a request from a Jewish nationalist politician to disqualify the entire party. Mr Tibi is third on its list of candidates for the 120-seat parliament.

In an angry statement to reporters after the decision, Mr Tibi pointed to the same committee's decision on Sunday to approve the candidacy of Jewish ultra-nationalist Mr Baruch Marzel, running for the hawkish Herut Party, despite his links to a party that has been banned as racist.

"The state of Israel has for a long time not been a state of all its citizens. Since yesterday it has been a state of all its Marzels," Mr Tibi said.

"This is the mark of Cain on the forehead of the Central Elections Committee and the political system, which approves such an anti-democratic racist reptile and wants to disqualify an authentic representative of the Arab public," he added.

Both votes were along party lines in the commission, which is made up of representatives of the parties in the parliament.

In Mr Tibi's case, right-wing parties formed the majority to disqualify him - the same coalition that approved Mr Marzel the day before. Both votes ran counter to the recommendations of the election commission chairman, Supreme Court Justice Mr Mishael Cheshin.