Joint List launches campaign for Israeli parliament amid optimism
The Joint List for the upcoming Israeli parliamentary elections [Ar] on 17 March was launched yesterday in Nazareth. The event was attended by thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
"The Joint List shows that Muslims, and particularly Islamists, are reaching out to their Christian and Druze brothers and vice versa,” said event director Mansour Abbas.
The Joint List was formed in January 2015 when, for the first time, the Palestinian-Jewish communist Hadash party
|Our people cherish this list, which terrifies the racist trio - Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett.
- Ayman Awda
agreed to run with three Palestinian parties – the secular Balad and Taal parties and the Islamist United Arab List.
During the event, members emphasised that the Joint List "represents the will of the people", and "aims to enhance Arab and democratic representation in the face of discrimination".
According to the electoral programme distributed at the event, the Joint List promises to confront the occupation, achieve national and civil equality for Palestinians and confront racism and fascism.
The list's platform also promised pursue environmental issues, fight for for social justice, workers' rights, women's rights, protect their homeland against sedition and colonialism, and seek a nuclear weapons free Middle East.
Addressing his Israeli political opponents, Mohammad Ali Taha, a member of the reconciliation committee that worked to unite Arab parties, characterised the Joint List as a "strike against you. Every vote for the list in the ballot box will be a stone thrown at the face of oppression."
Haneen Zoabi [Ar] a member of the Balad party and the first Palestinian woman to be elected to the Knesset told al-Araby al-Jadeed: "We are beginning to see the results of the Joint List - people are supporting us. We are facing very important elections and the list is our accomplishment in the face of Israeli discrimination and racism." She predicted that after the March elections the joint list would be the third largest power in the Knesset.
Last July, Zoabi was barred from running for parliament by the Central Elections Committee after comments she made about the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinians earlier that month.
Head of the Joint List Ayman Awda from the Hadash party told al-Araby al-Jadeed: "For the first time Arabs have agreed to agree. We speak on behalf of 1.5 million people. Our people cherish this list, which terrifies the racist trio - Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett."
Awda also argued that polls have given them 13 seats before they even launched their campaign. He predicted they would wind up with 15 seats.
Mazen Ghanaim, MK for the United Arab List, said: "The Joint List constitutes a collective national project that transcends the walls of the Knesset. It is the will of the people in word and deed."
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.