Hanin Zoabi
Hanin ZoabiMiriam Alster/Flash 90

The Hamas terror group reacted on Thursday to the decision by the Central Elections Committee in Israel to ban extremist Arab MK Hanin Zoabi from running in the upcoming elections.

"This is a racist decision which refutes Israel's claims that it is a democracy," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri declared on his Facebook page.

At the same time, he claimed the decision to ban Zoabi is a “badge of honor”, seeing as she was banned due to her “bold national positions”, as he put it.

The motion to ban Zoabi passed by a wide margin of 27-6, following a stormy debate.

Speaking at the hearing, Zoabi said that she was not the one that should be put “on trial. The occupation is the source of all violence, and for those who did not notice, the two people who filed this petition are the ones who have turned my entire nation into terrorists.” She and that “nation,” said Zoabi, “are part of the Palestinian nation. We are Palestinians.”

The petition noted that several candidates, primarily Zoabi, have given vocal support to terrorists such as Hamas in their efforts to destroy Israel, and promote "the armed struggle of Israel's enemies and terror groups against Israel, which according to the Basic Law: Knesset prevents them from running in an election."

Among other things, Zoabi has said that Israel has “no right to a normal life,” and that “the Israeli occupation” was behind the murder of Israelis in Bulgaria. She has also declared that Israel should "thank her" for allowing Jews to live in the Jewish state. 

In June, she defended the Hamas terrorists who abducted and murdered three Israeli teens, saying they weren't "terrorists" and justifying their actions as a "legitimate" way to "fight the occupation."

MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beytenu), one of the MKs who signed the petition calling to ban Zoabi, welcomed the Central Elections Committee’s decision.

"Zoabi's ban is an important victory for democracy in Israel and a clear message to all the extremist elements who want the destruction of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," he said.

"In the Middle East you do not win with points, but with a knock-out," added Miller. “The people of Israel support our fight against radical Islam and against the exploitation of democracy to support the armed struggle against Israel, and elected us so we can protect them without compromises and with no zigzagging.”

MK Danny Danon (Likud), who had been collecting signatures in a bid to bar Zoabi, welcomed the decision, as well, saying, "I am convinced that the Supreme Court will confirm the decision to hermetically lock the doors of the Knesset to Hanin Zoabi, as she is the enemy of Israel who exploits the only democracy in the Middle East - to serve Hamas and other haters of Israel.”

"There is no democracy in the world which would allow those who incite for its destruction - to sit in its parliament. On March 17 Zoabi should go to jail," he added.

The decision to bar Zoabi will now be decided by the Supreme Court. It should be noted that before the last election, the Supreme Court overturned a similar decision by the Central Elections Committee and allowed Zoabi to run.