Palestinian Balad Party appeals to Israeli Supreme Court following election ban

Palestinian Balad Party appeals to Israeli Supreme Court following election ban
The Balad Party has appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court after it was banned from taking part in Israeli Knesset elections due to take place in November.
2 min read
05 October, 2022
Balad leader Sami Abu Shehadeh said the ban was a political decision [Getty]

A major party representing Palestinian citizens of Israel has lodged an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, after it was banned from participating in forthcoming elections for the Knesset.

The Balad Party, also known as the National Democratic Assembly, on Tuesday filed the appeal with the assistance of Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, against Israel’s Central Elections Committee for the ban.

Adalah said that the Supreme Court was obliged to issue a ruling by next Sunday. Balad and its MPs have previously been banned from taking part in elections but won every appeal they lodged at the Supreme Court.

Adalah previously said that the Israeli Elections Committee's decision to ban Balad was driven by "racism and populism", calling for the body to be abolished.

The motion to ban the Palestinian party from the elections was originally put forward by an Israeli party called "We Are Together Towards a New Social Order".

The Israeli electoral body said that Balad had "opposed and rejected the Jewish and democratic character" of Israel.

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Israel controversially defines itself as "the state of the Jewish people" while Balad and other Palestinian parties have long campaigned for it to be defined as a state for all its citizens.

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up over 20 percent of the country’s population.

Sami Abu Shehadeh, the chairman of Balad, last week accused Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Yair Lapid of being behind the ban.

He said the two Israeli leaders were trying to "engineer the Arab leadership [in Israel] according to their political needs".

The ban followed a decision by Balad to split from the Joint List of Palestinian parties in Israel. A similar motion preventing the United Arab List, which is part of the Israeli governing coalition, from taking part in elections was rejected.

Israel is expected to hold its fifth election in three years in November 2022 after the Knesset was dissolved last June. Balad is not expected to gain the 3.25 percent of votes necessary for Knesset representation.