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Balad

  • '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…

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  • 'A Palestinian state isn't the solution, but it's a step in the right direction': Meet MK Jamal Zahalka

    Chairman of the Balad party says that unification of Israel’s Arab parties is nothing short of historic — both in Israel and the Arab world: ‘There has never been unity between the communists, nationalists and Islamists.' In an interview, Zahalka talks about his party’s appeal to Jewish voters, why the Joint List won’t join an Israeli government and what compromises he is willing to make to end the occupation. "A war of attrition." That is how writer Samah Salaime Agbaria, my colleague at +972's sister site Local Call, described the endless negotiations between the Arab parties in their attempt to form…

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  • United Arab slate thumbs nose at Liberman's disqualification attempt

    After years of engaging in relentless, blatantly racist incitement against the Arab parties, the foreign minister may soon get his comeuppance. Avigdor Liberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and current foreign minister, is trying to get the new unified list of Arab parties disqualified from running in the upcoming elections. According to settler website Arutz Sheva, Liberman's petition is based on the claim that Balad, one of the parties on the list, supports terrorism. Liberman's previous campaigns included a proposal to strip citizenship from Israeli citizens who refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state. His 2009 campaign…

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  • The Arab parties united? Great, now it's time to get to work

    After a great deal of work, the joint Arab election slate has finally come into fruition. But what does the list say about the place of women in Arab politics? Who proved himself to be the real leader of the group? And what can the Arab public do now? By Samah Salaime Egbariya You know that joke about how Arabs can't agree about anything but the fact that they disagree about everything? Well, it is officially no longer relevant! With the looming elections and the raising of the electoral threshold, Israel's Arab population went into a long state of difficult…

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  • Arab parties announce joint slate for upcoming election

    In a bid to remain relevant with an increased electoral threshold, the three Arab parties and Communist party Hadash are to run on one list in the March 17 elections. In an unprecedented, historic move, Israel's Arab parties Hadash, Balad, Ta'al and Ra'am announced late Thursday night that they will run on a joint slate named "The Joint List" in the upcoming March 17 election. The list will be headed by the Arab-Jewish Hadash party's Ayman Odeh, who was elected party chairman last week, followed by Masud Ghnaim of the Islamist Ra’am and Balad’s Jamal Zahalka in third place. Ahmed…

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  • Arab parties likely to announce historic joint election slate in coming days

    Islamists, Marxists, women and Jews: The Arab parties have done the seemingly impossible and are likely announce a united election slate in the coming days. By Yael Marom and Nadav Frankovich Israel's Arab parties are expected to announce the formation of a combined election slate in the lead-up to the upcoming elections. The slate, which will group Ra'am, Balad, Hadash and Ta'al into one party (without formally merging), has been named "The United List," and is set to include secular, religious, female and Jewish politicians. While the different Arab parties have historically run separately, a law spearheaded last year by…

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  • Why won't the Arab parties just unite already?

    Raising the Knesset threshold was a game-changer, and now the Arab parties must find a way to unite in order to stay relevant. Will they put aside their egos and political differences for the sake of Israel's Palestinian minority? By Samah Salaime Egbariya A war of attrition has been declared on the Palestinian minority in Israel, in the wake of endless discussions over the possibility of uniting the Arab parties to run in the upcoming elections. It turns out that Arabs are not really connected to realtime: with every passing week, simple folk such as myself (not to mention 60 percent…

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  • Attorney General: MK Zoabi likely to stand trial for incitement

    The decision is just one of several that have targeted the Arab Knesset member over the past year.  Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced Tuesday that he has decided to indict MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) for incitement to violence and disgracing a public official. Weinstein summoned Zoabi to a pre-indictment hearing, upon the recommendation of several legal experts, where she will be able to plead her case. The indictment relates to a hearing at a Nazareth courthouse in July of this year, where Zoabi allegedly insulted policemen guarding the building. According to the state prosecutor's office, Zoabi called two Arab police officers…

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  • If Herzog wants to lead, he'll need to bring the Arabs with him

    The upcoming elections could provide a golden opportunity for the Palestinian minority in Israel to become power brokers in the political system. That is, if Labor leader and election frontrunner Isaac Herzog brings the Arab MKs into his coalition. By: Thair Abu Rass The upcoming Israeli elections are a historic opportunity for the Palestinian minority in Israel. For the first time ever they have the possibility of becoming the power brokers in any future coalition. According to recent polls, a unified Arab slate consisting of the four major parties: Hadash (a joint Jewish-Arab party, where nearly 95% of its voters…

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  • High Court rules against Zoabi, upholds Knesset suspension

    'In effect, from this day forward, Arab Knesset members will be subject to the political judgements of the Jewish majority,'  MK Zoabi's attorneys say. The High Court of Justice on Wednesday rejected MK Haneen Zoabi's appeal to overturn her six-month suspension from parliamentary discussions for a political opinion she expressed on the radio in June. As I reported yesterday, in deliberating her petition, the justices spent more time interpreting and judging Zoabi's politics than whether the Knesset had the right to suspend her in the first place. In its decision (Hebrew), the justices essentially chose "not to interfere" with the…

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  • The Knesset v. Zoabi: Israeli Arab MK's politics put on trial

    The High Court spent most of Tuesday's hearing questioning Zoabi’s politics rather than deliberating whether the Knesset had the right to suspend her in the first place. Israel's High Court of Justice held a discussion Tuesday morning over Knesset member Haneen Zoabi's (Balad) petition to overrule a decision to suspend her from parliamentary debates for six months. The decision was put into effect by the Knesset Ethics Committee on July 29 and is due to expire at the end of January 2015. Tuesday's session ended without a decision, but justices said one would be made in the coming days. The suspension…

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  • Hebrew U. threatens Palestinian students with expulsion over political activities

    Twelve Palestinian students are facing possible expulsion from Jerusalem's Hebrew University for participating in an 'illegal' political protest. In the past, the university only took steps against particular student groups. Now, it's switching gears and targeting individual students. By Rami Younis Near the end of September, 12 Palestinian students received a notice from the Hebrew University administration, stating that Dean of Students Udi Shavit had lodged a complaint against them over their participation in an "unauthorized demonstration that goes against regulations," which took place on July 10, 2014. The notice said that the administration was waiting for a response from…

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  • It's time for a real joint struggle

    Honesty is needed to wake Israelis from their delusions. Continuing to view Israel as a normal state will only prolong this bloody conflict and create yet more suffering for both sides. By Awad Abdelfattah Israel’s ruling elite continues to mislead Israeli society into believing that the Palestinians will one day submit to their enslavement. Israel’s colonization of the land and people is unceasing, suppressing and killing the indigenous Palestinian population in a quest for an illusionary individual and collective security. The recent onslaught on Gaza – the third major offensive in seven years – and the continuing escalation in official…

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