Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew sister site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

High Court to rule over fate of unrecognized Palestinian village

The village of Dahmash has been around since 1948, and its residents have the documents to prove it. The authorities, however, have been threatening the unrecognized village with demolition for years. Now residents are taking matters into their own hands and putting together a festival to bring attention to their cause.

By Rami Younis

On Monday, March 16 — a day before the national elections — Israel’s High Court of Justice will hear an appeal by the residents of the unrecognized village Dahmash. The village, located between Ramle and Lyd (“Lod” in Hebrew), is not recognized by any local council. The hearing could set an historic precedent — should the High Court rules in favor of the residents, it will force the state to try and recognize the village, which would prevent home demolitions in the near future. However, if the Court rules against the residents, the threat of demolition will loom larger than ever before.

The unrecognized village Dahmash is under the jurisdiction of the Emek Lod Regional Council, a mere 20 minute drive from Tel Aviv. The village has been around since 1948, and its residents even have proof of ownership in the Israel Land Registry. However, the State does not recognize their claim to the land, and does not provide the village with the necessary infrastructure or even the most basic services, such as sewage, roads, electricity, garbage collection or a post office.

As opposed to the moshavim (a type of cooperative agricultural community) whose agricultural lands have been cleared for construction, the only thing the residents of Dahmash can do with their land is grow tomatoes. Despite the efforts by the residents, which included demonstrations, a lengthy court battle and funding for a master plan — all construction is deemed illegal.

There are currently 16 home demolition orders in the village. The struggle to prevent the destruction has lasted for over a decade, and has been successful due to the support of dedicated activists who supported the villagers over the years. For instance, in 2010, in the wake of a public campaign that included major protests on the main road in Ramle, which included artists and activists, the district court delayed the demolition orders against 13 homes, and gave the residents the opportunity to try and push forward a solution to resolve the status of the village. In the spring of 2014, the state attorney toured...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The cynical use of homophobia to attack the Joint List

The Pride Parade has become a litmus test of enlightenment for politicians. But clinging to that symbol is dangerous in that it disconnects the parade from its actual context — the LGBTQ community’s struggle for equal rights.

By Inna Michaeli

In a video question-and-answer segment produced by Haaretz this week, Arab actress and singer Mira Awad interviewed Balad party chairman Jamal Zahalka, and in her second question, asked him about the Gay Pride parade. It was no surprise that the program’s editors couldn’t help but lead the program with the pride question. A few moments later Awad asked about polygamy.

Polygamy is a real problem. As is violence and oppression of women and those with non-conforming gender identities. That is why I oppose the use of polygamy and homophobia as a weapon for attacking Arab society as a whole, and specifically the Joint List. Such attacks do not advance the feminist and queer struggles — quite the opposite.

Mentioning the Pride Parade has become a litmus test of enlightenment. So when Mira Awad asks Jamal Zahalka about Pride, she isn’t really asking him about the parade. In reality she is saying: make up your mind, Jamal. Are you part of the enlightened world or the primitive world? Make up your mind. Are you a progressive, enlightened man, or are you stuck in fundamentalism?

It’s important and legitimate to ask the heads of political parties about their agendas and platforms on social issues. However, it would have been possible to ask a million more topical questions, more urgent and more important questions: What do you think can be done in order to reduce suicide attempts among youths with non-conforming gender identities? What is your position on homophobia in society? How will you vote on adoption for same-sex couples? How do you propose tackling employment discrimination against transgender individuals? How do you feel about women’s liberation in general? What is your opinion on the restrictions on abortion in Israel? How will you ensure financial independence and increased employment opportunities for women in outlying towns and villages? Regarding surrogacy, how do you balance the conflict between parents’ rights and the conditions of women in the third world?

Clinging to the Pride Parade is dangerous in that it disconnects the parade from its actual context — the LGBTQ community’s struggle for equal rights in society. Instead of focusing on that, it...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

A new activism, a new politics, a new generation of Palestinians in Israel

To most Jewish Israelis they don’t have names or faces — they are at worst rioters and stone-throwers waving Palestinian flags; at best they are a discriminated-against minority.

Their new activism is partly the result of generational divides and new technologies that have connected them to the rest of the Arab world that had been shut off since the birth of the State of Israel. In part it is the result of recent Israeli attacks against their relatives in the West Bank and Gaza, discriminatory police violence and a long history of political repression.

No small number of factors has helped shape this new generation of Palestinian activists in Israel. They go by different names, define different identities for themselves and have different political tactics and goals. They fight for Palestinian national liberation and Israeli civil rights, prioritizing each based on strategic and tactical considerations, and have varying approaches to mainstream politics.

Most of the young activists describe themselves as Palestinian, and when they take to the streets they wave the Palestinian flag, something that was almost unheard of in previous generations inside Israel. Their national identity and its expression, however, are greatly influenced by living in the Jewish state.

“The first time my father saw me carrying the Palestinian flag, he lost his mind,” says Abed Abu Shhadeh, 26, from Jaffa. “Before Oslo it was illegal to do that, and Palestinians would have been extremely afraid of the flag. Today, we have dozens of them.”

Technically, the flag of the Palestinian Liberation Organization is illegal to display in Israel, and the PLO is still listed as a terrorist organization. In practice, that prohibition hasn’t been enforced since Israel began dealing directly with the Yasser Arafat and the PLO in the 1990s. Much has changed.

This is the third generation of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The first generation experienced the Nakba, the displacement and expulsion of the majority of Palestinians from the borders of present-day Israel in 1948, along with the destruction of nearly all of their villages. The second generation was raised in fear: they were raised by survivors of the Nakba, lived under Israel’s military government and were constantly threatened and controlled by the State, Rawan Bisharat explains.

“The third generation, especially since the Intifada of 2000, is the generation that is rebelling. They are characterized by strength,” she continues. But often times their parents tried to reel...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

JNF, settler group seek to evict Palestinian family in Silwan

The Jewish National Fund, known to Jews worldwide as an organization that plants trees in Israel, is once again trying to evict a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem.

By Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Over the past few decades, the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), an organization known to many in the diaspora for its work planting trees in Israel (I gave a portion of my Bar Mitzvah money to the JNF), has been working in coordination with Elad, an extremist settler organization whose explicit goals include the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem. Since 1991, the cooperation between these two organizations has led to eviction of a number of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. While ELAD’s methods of takeover in Silwan have included shady sales agreements and forceful confiscation in the middle of the night, they are also often done in complete accordance with Israeli law. This fact is often cited as a defense by the JNF and its supporters. In a 2012 op-ed, JNF CEO Russell Robinson wrote:

I’ll let the reader meditate on this quote, and the irony of the JNF’s —and the broader Diaspora Jewish establishment’s — admiration for the legacy of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Even one of their forests in the Galilee is the Corretta Scott King Forest. The Civil Rights Movement was predicated on the violation of unjust ‘’democratic’’ laws. Robinson also writes that ‘’Those who use the term ‘judaizing’ insult the men and women who perished fighting for our democratic Jewish State of Israel.” I wonder if he realizes what he is saying about the administrators of the City of David, backed by virtually all levels of the Israeli politically establishment.

In the fall of 2011, the JNF-KKL’s role in facilitating the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Silwan was spotlighted by a campaign to prevent the eviction of the Sumarin family from their home, directly next to ELAD’s City of David tourist site. The JNF-KKL’s claim to the property was based on the Absentee Property Law, a law that allows the Israeli government to take over properties abandoned by Palestinians during the 1948 war, and which applied Read More

View article: AAA
Share article

'The Joint List isn't turning its back on Israeli society'

As an oppressed and colonized minority, we will only ever achieve real change in Israeli policy when we behave as a coherent national group. This does not, however, mean we are excluding our Jewish allies.

By Awad Abdelfattah

The true strategic significance of the creation of the Joint Arab List has eluded most Israelis. Even among Arab Palestinians inside Israel, the common assumption is that the List’s sole objective is to surmount the electoral threshold after it was raised to 3.25 percent by Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, thereby increasing the influence of the Arab minority in Israeli politics.

This is undoubtedly a major aim — but it is not the most important one. Rather, the formation of the Joint List finally puts the Arab parties on a shared path towards the much-delayed goal of re-organizing our community.

The unification of the Arab parties came late, but the idea has been under discussion for many years. It was first proposed by the Balad party back in 1999 and is consistent with our platform that the Palestinian minority must be organized on a national basis.

The pressure on the political parties from the Arab public to unite had been mounting in recent years. The Palestinian minority has faced ever greater hostility as well as an escalation in racist legislation and incitement from the State. As the Arab members of Knesset became more marginalized, Palestinian citizens’ loss of faith in the political game grew. More and more of them chose to stay at home on election day, either out of indifference or because they actively boycotted Knesset elections. Now that the Arab parties have responded, the Arab public will expect to see this cooperation not only sustained in the Knesset and on the ground, but expanded.

Communist concerns

In the 2012 elections, the Communist Party (Hadash, a joint Arab-Jewish list) was the only one of the four Arab parties in the Knesset to object to the idea of unification. It argued that unity would alienate Israeli Jews and would lead to increased retaliation from the establishment. But a deeper reason for Hadash’s objection stemmed from its time-honored reliance on a Stalinist approach that espouses internationalism as a way to degrade nationalism. Some observers noted the contradiction in the Communist Party’s position, since it acknowledged Israel as the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The violent roots of Israel's Labor party

The Labor party’s glory days included the Nakba, conquering and settling the West Bank and East Jerusalem and other affairs Israeli society has yet to begin processing.

By Tom Pessah

Senior Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich published the following status on her personal Facebook page a few weeks ago:

“Hi this is Shelly. Spot the differences: education minister and member of the diplomatic-security cabinet Yigal Allon moves apartments.”

In an attempt to criticize Prime Minister Netanyahu’s lavish expenditures, Yachimovich, number three on the Zionist Camp list, uploaded a photo of a letter written by Yigal Allon — one of Israel’s revered military leaders and a central figure in the historic Labor Party. The letter, which was written sometime in April 1969, is a request by Allon that the furniture for his new state-owned apartment be imported from his old one, so as to not to waste too much of the budget allocated to him as minister.

Like many in her party, Yachimovich is nostalgic for the “good old days” before Likud came to power in 1977, when Israeli leaders were known for their humility. But these days weren’t exactly good for everyone.

Allon, perhaps more than any other person, can be seen as the architect of the Nakba — the expulsion and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 war and the establishment of the State of Israel. As the commander of the pre-state Palmach militia, he initiated a “whisper campaign” in April 1948 to terrify Palestinians into fleeing the eastern Galilee. Here is the plan in his own words:

I gathered the Jewish mukhtars [elders from local kibbutzim and villages - T.P.] who had connections with the different Arab villages, and I asked them to whisper in the ears of several Arabs that giant Jewish reinforcements had reached the Galilee and were about to clean out the villages in the Hula, [and] to advise them, as friends, to flee while they could. And the rumor spread throughout the Hula that the time had come to flee. The flight encompassed tens of thousands. The stratagem fully achieved its objective.

But this was just the beginning. Allon served in the Galilee, where he conquered the cities of Tiberias and Bisan;...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israeli, Palestinian women protest on both sides of Israeli checkpoint

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Israeli and Palestinian women demonstrate against the occupation. Israeli security forces use tear gas to break up the protest.

Text by Yael Marom
Photos by Anne Paq, Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Roughly 500 Israeli citizens (of both Jewish and Palestinian backgrounds) along with around 1,000 Palestinian women (from the West Bank), demonstrated on both sides of the Qalandia checkpoint Saturday afternoon. The protest was meant to demonstrate Israeli-Palestinian solidarity in opposing the occupation, ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday.

The 1,000 Palestinian women marched from the Qalandia Refugee Camp toward the checkpoint that separates Jerusalem and Ramallah, attempting to reach the Israeli side. As the women approached the checkpoint Israeli security forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and sprayed pepper spray at them in order to forcefully disperse the protest. Dozens of the women were wounded, at least 10 of whom were taken for further medical care.

On the Israeli side, hundreds of women — from Nazareth, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Shefa-’Amr, Jerusalem and more — held signs reading: “Equality yes, racism no”, “Enough have died for the occupation”. They also chanted to tear down the separation wall. The three women candidates on the Joint List, Aida Touma-Suliman, Haneen Zoabi and Nabila Espanioly, also took part in the demonstration. Israeli security forces prevented those on the Israeli side from approaching the checkpoint’s gate.

Joint List candidate Aida Touma-Suliman said that protesting along the separation barrier with Jewish and Arab women is the right way to take an active part in the struggle for women’s rights and against the occupation. “Instead of wasting money on settlements and occupation, we, women citizens of the State, deserve to benefit from those budgets in order to improve our lives. The women on the other side of the fence deserve to live lives free of occupation and checkpoints.”

Fida Tabouni, who took part in the demonstration, said, “You can’t talk about women’s rights without talking about the occupation. You can’t talk about International Women’s Day without discussing women Palestinian prisoners. For us, to talk about a patriarchal society is also to talk about a militaristic society.”

Another protester, Iris Stern Levi of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said: “There is an entire nation behind this wall, and we are responsible for that, whether passively or actively.”

Responding to the wounding of Palestinian women at the demonstration, MK Dov Khenin...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Parks and Occupation: Archaeology is the new security

The Biblical blueprint is being dragged up around our feet, seeking to use what is under the ground as evidence of divine right and the political and territorial sovereignty it supposedly affords us.

By Natasha Roth

The past makes for prime real estate when you’re developing a national mythology. It’s also a fine way to exert control over an area, both under — and overground. Just ask the residents of Silwan, East Jerusalem, whose homes have variously been placed under demolition orders, dug under, or had access restricted in the name of archaeological exploration.

The use of archaeology as a political tool is in Israel is not new, despite its recent sharp descent into an explicit weapon of occupation. In the 1950s and ’60s, as immigrants arrived in Israel from across the globe, the exploration of the physical connection of Jews to the land contributed to a unifying mythology that sought to provide each new arrival with a profound sense of belonging, no matter their country of origin.

This is also not a tactic unique to Israel: nation-building around the world has often resorted to archaeology as a means of emphasizing the legitimacy of that people’s presence in that place, no matter how new or thrown-together they appear to be. Just as in the wake of the unification of Italy the politician Massimo D’Azeglio stated, “We have made Italy; now we must make Italians.” So too was the creation of Israelis a crucial pursuit in the early decades of the state.

Yet this is not, of course, the full story. As anthropologist Nadia El-Haj has stated, the romantic ‘coming home’ message behind digging for Jewish roots in Israel serves to utterly “sideline a constitutive piece of the Zionist project: that is, it effaces the colonial question and, with it, the conflict over territory that Jewish settlement entailed.” The archaeological findings presented as evidence of Jewish settlement here millennia ago are deployed as the ultimate unreturnable serve — “we were here before you,” so the argument goes, with the implied follow-up of “and by proving it, we’ll be here after you too.”

To this end, the abuse of archaeology here has produced moments of structural violence for Palestinians that are ordinarily associated with security imperatives — the aforementioned demolitions and restrictions on freedom of movement, takeovers of areas declared as ‘archaeological zones’ (as opposed to the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Red-Dead pipeline is the wrong answer, politically and environmentally

Pumping Red Sea water into the Dead Sea to save it from drying up ignores environmental consequences, experts warn. Rights groups decry the plan as an ‘attempt to force the Palestinian population to consent to their own dispossession.’

By Keren Simons

Israel and Jordan last Thursday signed a historic agreement to cooperate over their shared bodies of water, in a move to protect the shrinking Dead Sea and to address the looming potable water crisis in the two countries. A pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea is proposed to refill water in the salt lake, and desalinization plants to be built in Jordan. The Palestinian Authority, a party to the Memorandum of Understanding on replenishing the Dead Sea in December 2013, was not a party to this agreement. The World Bank sponsored this long-awaited plan, hailed as an initiative to promote peace in the region through economic and environmental cooperation, on the understanding that environmental problems have no borders.

The Red-Dead conveyance, however, is far from a perfect plan. Environmental groups have argued that the World Bank environmental impact study does not adequately address serious concerns about the effect on ecosystems in both the Red and Dead seas, nor did it consider alternative proposed plans. Palestinian human rights groups have maintained that the plan is part of a continuum of violations of Palestinian rights to water. MK Silvan Shalom implied the plan was another element to realization of the Zionist dream, saying, “today we realize the vision of Binyamin Ze’ev [Theodore] Herzl, the visionary of the state, who already at the end of the 19th century understood the need to revive the Dead Sea.”

Palestinian rights groups state that the World Bank’s feasibility study and Environmental and Social Assessment study lack transparency, or a mandate given to them by a credible consultative and participatory process. They allege that key concerns brought up by Palestinians on Israeli violations of water rights were deliberately ignored.

The Dead Sea is not actually a sea, but a hypersaline lake, naturally replenished by water flowing into it from the Jordan River. The Jordan, however, has been overexploited, polluted, and diverted, with large parts of the lower river in serious danger of drying up. An estimated 98 percent of the trans-boundary Jordan River has been diverted by Israel, Jordan and Syria for public use before it can ever reach the Dead Sea.

Largely...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

'You killed my son': Cop who shot Bedouin man is back on the job

When Khaled al-Ja’ar called the police to report drug dealers in his neighborhood, he never thought they would kill his son. Now he is turning to Israel’s top court to demand that his son’s killer, who has since been released and put back on the job, be arrested and prosecuted.

By Michal Rotem
(translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)

When Khaled al-Ja’ar alerted the police to drug activity taking place in the Negev city of Rahat, he never imagined the night would end with him being severely beaten, handcuffed and humiliated at a police station, several minutes after watching his son die in front of him. Now he is appealing to the Israeli High Court of Justice, demanding that the officer who shot his son be rearrested, and that the officers who assaulted him be interrogated.

On Wednesday, January 14, during a police raid in neighborhood No. 26 in Rahat, an officer from the Rahat police used his side arm to shoot to death Sami al-Jaar to death, a 22-year-old man on his way home from work. About a month later, on February 12, the officer admitted his involvement in the shooting and was arrested for the purpose of interrogation, but released to house arrest a short while later. Two weeks ago, Sami’s father, Khaled, petitioned the High Court of Justice asking for an order nisi, via Adv. Shmuel Zilberman. Khaled is demanding that the officer suspected of killing his son be rearrested until the end of legal proceedings, thereby cancelling his release. In addition, he is demanding that all the officers suspected of assaulting him be interrogated and/or arrested. The petition was filed with the High Court, but while hearings of this type are usually scheduled within a few days, a date for the hearing of this petition has yet to be set. Meanwhile, the officer who killed Sami is back on the job.

The killing of al-Ja’ar triggered a sequence of events from which Rahat is still reeling, but this is just one part of the horrifying story that follows, and has now been revealed in the petition and in our conversation with Khaled al-Ja’ar. Another part of the story involves the violent and racist abuse of Khaled, a former professional soldier in the IDF, whose family lost a son in the 1973 war. Khaled was severely beaten and humiliated at the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The road to Palestinian statehood runs through Gaza

Irrespective of who wins in Israel’s elections, Palestine will have to deal with the marginalization of its quest for statehood. That process must start by reintegrating Gaza into the Palestinian fold.

By Salam Fayyad

For Palestinians the quest for statehood begins with Gaza. But wait, is there still active regional or international interest in the cause of Palestinian statehood? I submit that whatever residual interest remains in the possibility of making yet another attempt at reviving the “peace process” finds expression these days largely in the phrase “let’s first see what March 17 brings,” a reference to the upcoming Israeli elections.

I also argue that, irrespective of the outcome of those elections, all concerned, but especially Palestinians, will find themselves having to first deal with what arguably is the worst state of marginalization, both regionally and internationally, to ever befall the quest for Palestinian statehood.

Two main reasons underlie this marginalization. The first relates to the broadening, in the aftermath of the failure of the most recent round of diplomacy, of the base of an already deep sense of skepticism regarding the capacity of the Oslo framework to deliver on its promise after more than two decades of futility. The second relates to the virtually complete regional and international preoccupation with the present and fast-mushrooming threat posed by ISIL and like-minded non-state actors in the region and way beyond it.

Even though the weaker of the two parties in the highly asymmetrical balance of power between the occupier and the occupied, the Palestinians still do have a shot at cracking the marginalization nut if they start from where it matters the most, namely, with Gaza. This happens to be the right choice, both because of the urgent need to deal with the catastrophic human conditions there, but also strategically, given the necessity of reintegrating Gaza into the Palestinian fold as a key requirement on the path to sovereignty.

This reintegration requires taking serious steps towards beginning to manage Palestinian pluralism effectively, with respect to the requirements of both national governance and international engagement. This, in turn, requires the immediate convening and activation of the Unified Leadership Framework (ULF), ensuring that the Palestinian government is fully empowered and representative of the entire political spectrum, and reconvening the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

The ULF – a hitherto largely dormant forum – consists of leaders of all Palestinian factions, with membership in it not...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israelis, Iranians pay the same price for nuclear ambitions

The discussion surrounding Netanyahu’s Congress speech presumes that Iran does not have a right to nuclear weapons but that Israel does. Another way of looking at things is a nuclear-free Middle East, and an alliance between the oppressed citizens of Iran and Israel.

By Mati Shemoelof

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the United States, which was ostensibly meant to address the danger of Iran’s nuclear program, has a hidden angle that goes unspoken in the Israeli media.

The discussion surrounding Iran deals mainly with whether the Islamic Republic has nuclear capabilities. This angle does not deal with Israel itself, or with nuclear proliferation of the entire Middle East. In light of the upcoming elections, it is especially important to note the exorbitant price that Israeli citizens pay (a quarter of whom live below the poverty line) for Israel’s choice to be a nuclear power, according to foreign sources. Those same sources claim Israel has Jericho missiles, tactical delivery systems, ballistic missile submarines and nuclear-armed fighter jets, as well as hundreds of nuclear bombs that continue to be developed.

Do nuclear weapons protect Israel? Is the investment worth it? These issues are never spoken about. Preventing the enemy from obtaining similar weapons is practically axiomatic in this country. According to the West, the Jews are allowed to have an unsupervised, unlimited nuclear arsenal with no environmental regulations. Think about the danger such an old nuclear reactor poses to the nearby city of Dimona. Is the reactor carcinogenic for its workers and the people who live in the area? Where does Israel bury its nuclear waste?

According to the West, Israel can have nuclear weapons because of the Holocaust, but the Iranians are dangerous because their previous leaders have called for the elimination of Israel. And here? Both the Right and the Left adopt this premise.

The West encourages Israel to arm itself with nuclear weapons; Germany sells us nuclear submarines; the United States sells us fighter jets. But are the Germans and the Americans aware that Israel’s arms industry, and the generals who control Israeli politics, are actually starving their citizens while they become rich? Are they even concerned by the sale such a dangerous weapon to a third world country such as Israel? Why is there no parity between Israel and Iran’s potential nuclear arsenal?

The Iranian people also suffer due to their leaders’ desire for the doomsday...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The Joint List: The Israeli Left's last hope?

In light of the Joint List’s newfound strength, it might be high time for centrist and leftist parties to renegotiate their understanding of what it means to be Israeli.

By Louis Fishman

Much attention has been given to the Jewish-Arab Hadash party’s unification with the Arab parties, which are running in the current election under the name the “Joint List” (not the Arab Joint List, as much of the Israeli press is reporting). Even if this was done in order to ensure the parties pass the election threshold, it has turned into a major force on the Israeli political map, joining together communists, nationalists, Islamists, Arabs and Jews.

If polls are correct, the party could even come in third place, winning between 12 and 15 seats of the Israeli parliament’s 120 seats. While it is hard to imagine that the two expected winners of the elections, the Likud and the Zionist Camp (Labor), will enter in to a unity government, if they do, such a scenario could turn the Joint List into the main opposition party.

As opposed to the past, when most of the Israeli media brushed off the Arab parties as unworthy of election coverage, often even discarding Hadash as “Arab,” despite its Jewish constituency, the Joint List’s strength can no longer be ignored, leading to the obvious conclusion that Israeli Jews will also for the first time have to come to terms with the fact that the Palestinian minority constitutes almost 20 percent of the population.

Israel is a country made up of multiple sectors, divided along ethnic, religious and ideological lines, which leaves the winner of the Israeli election scrambling for the 60 seats needed to form a government. Despite the tough maneuvering to form a government, none of the major parties in Israeli history has ever invited anti-Zionist Jewish-Arab parties to be part of the government, making coalition-building even more difficult.

A chance for change

If this was not enough, in Israel, unlike most democracies where leftist parties adopt the struggle of the minority, the Labor Party also excludes the Arab constituencies. For example, by adopting the name the “Zionist Camp,” and attempting to disqualify MK Haneen Zoabi from running in the election, it made it clear that it does not differ from many in the Israeli Right.

Of course, there is the precedent from the 1990s when Labor leader Yitzhak...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article
© 2010 - 2015 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website powered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel