The United Arab List split from the Arab Joint List Alliance two months before Israel’s parliamentary election.
The electoral coalition of Palestinian parties in Israel has split ahead of parliamentary elections in March, which could undermine Israeli Palestinian citizens’ representation in the Knesset.
The Arab Joint List, which won a record 15 seats in parliamentary votes last year, participated independently on Thursday, breaking the alliance with the United Arab List (UAL), the southern wing of the Islamic Movement.
After failing to reach an agreement with Mansoor Abbas-led UAL, the three other parties – Hadash, Tal and Balad – said they agreed to walk together as a united front in the March 23 vote.
The three parties submitted their joint slate before Thursday night’s deadline to finalize the electoral lists.
“We tried to keep the four parties united, but we were unsuccessful,” Tal party president Ahmed al-Tibi told Al Jazeera.
“Even then, we [the three other parties of the Joint List] Will continue to work together and represent the interests of our people, ”he said, referring to the territory of a coalition of mostly Palestinian citizens of Israel.
As per the agreement, Hadash leader Ayman Odeh will continue to lead the joint list, followed by Taal president Al-Tibi and newly elected Balad leader Sami Abu Shehdeh.
Al-Bibi said, “The breakup will undoubtedly affect our representation in the Knesset, but we will continue our fight against Netanyahu and work to realize our voters’ ambitions.” Parliament.
Leaders and supporters of the joint list have long hoped to push Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud Party, accusing them of racism and inciting against Israeli Palestinian citizens.
The crack in the Arab joint list first appeared in December, when UAL’s Abbas appeared in favor of collaborating to gain benefits for Palestinian citizens of Israel, including improved housing and protection from crime and violence.
UAL said in recent weeks that it would refuse to recommend Netanyahu as prime minister only after a vote – a key demand for a joint list – on two terms: the joint list proposes to cooperate with alternative Israeli Jewish parties Does, and agrees not to support socially liberal legislation.
Odeh, the leader of the coalition, voted in favor of a bill last year that outlined so-called transfiguration therapy for LGBTQ people.
In recent weeks, Abbas of the UAL accused other parties of not respecting traditional values, stating that they had more common ground on social issues with some right-wing religious Jewish parties who opposed the bill. The other three sides of the joint list are secular and left-leaning.
Speaking to reporters after presenting the list of UAL nominees on Thursday, Abbas said his party would form an alliance with someone who shares his values and according to the interests of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
He There was no denying Netanyahu’s recommendation for the Prime Minister, stating that “we will leave until after the election and decide based on what we are offered”.
Wooing arab voters
Contrary to previous votes, Netanyahu is openly attracting Palestinian voters, making rare visits to majority Palestinian cities as part of Israel’s electoral campaign, and apologizing for past comments called racist or by the community Was regarded as abetment.
According to analysts, Netanyahu is expected to garner some votes from Palestinian citizens, to gather a coalition that will extend his time in office and possibly provide him immunity from prosecuting corruption charges. If their coalition is able to get a majority of 61 seats in a 120-seat parliament, their chances will improve.
For a long time the Prime Minister faces three separate corruption cases and has been accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.
“Netanyahu wants to avoid prosecution and that is why he is showing political flexibility,” said Sami Abdulhamid, an Israeli-based political analyst with reference to Israeli Palestinian citizens.
“He He thinks he could potentially get some votes from the Palestinian community in Israel and win the Islamic Party in Kiset, ”Abdulhamid said, adding that this was unlikely to happen.
Palestinian citizens of Israel – including Muslims, Druze, and Christians – make up 20 percent of the population and more than 900,000 of the nearly six million eligible Israeli voters.
Because Palestinian citizens traditionally vote as unified blocks for the joint list, they can potentially have a significant impact on electoral results if they vote in large numbers.
But some observers believe that the split will discourage voting among the community and completely undermine its representation in the Knesset.
According to the analyst, Abdulhamid, many eligible voters have gradually lost interest in the election due to violations within the joint list, as well as its alleged failure to address the issues.
“When the combined list won 15 seats in Knesset, voters had high expectations from them when it talks on a range of issues including housing, discrimination and violence and organized crime in the community.
“Instead, the parties were fighting against each other. Now with Partition, Palestinian parties will lose power in the Knesset. The UAEL has also not clarified the threshold for entering the cassette, ”he said.
Nevertheless, Balad’s Abu Shahadeh told Al Jazeera that although the three-party alliance was starting at a “very low point”, he believed the joint list still had a good chance of winning 10 seats.
Abu Shahadeh said, “It may take two or three weeks, but this can be reflected in any election, but I am confident that our constituency will vote again.”
Further reporting by Reema Mustafa in Jerusalem.