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State Identity, Territorial Integrity and Party Banning: The Case of a Pan Arab Political Party in Israel

Author(s): Ron Harris

Journal: Socio-Legal Review
ISSN 0973-5216

Volume: 4;
Date: 2010;
Original page

The banning of political parties in democracies, something which seemed to be a matter of the past, has reemerged in recent years in many countries, from Germany to Turkey, from Britain to Israel, and from Spain to Latvia. The present article tells the story of an encounter in the years between 1959 and 1965, between the pan-Arab national movement El Ard and the Israeli executive and judicial branches. According to the author’s interpretation of its history, El Ard was what he calls a “third generation party” based on his categorisation of party objectives and means. It sought to alter the identity of Israel in a radical manner. Yet it was not associated explicitly with organisations or states that aimed at destructing Israel or altering its identity as a Jewish state. The article elaborates on the question of how to interpret the objectives of a party; it grapples with the question of what constitutes support for terror and for the use of violence; it raises issues related to the nature of separatism, irredenta, and pan-nationalism; it problematises the test for adherence to democratic principles; and it deals with the effects of emergency and post-war situations. The case study places in thick context, with ample nuances, the dilemmas and doubts involved in the ban of political parties, which have recently came to preoccupy many governments and courts

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