"Rule on earth, at least in Arab and Muslim land, should be by the Caliph [Islamic ruler and heir to Muhammad's authority –ed.]," chairman of the new merger between the United Arab List and the Ta'al Party Ibrahim Sarsour said Wednesday. "We believe in Islam and in the Caliphate and not in separation between state and religion."
Sarsour at a conference in Ramallah in 2004
Sarsour made the statement during a joint press conference with Arab MK Ahmed Tibi to announce the joint list's platform and party list.
The chairman took the opportunity to blame Zionists and the US government for a clash of civilizations being forced upon the Muslim world. "There is a hidden hand that acts in a bid to bring the world to a clash of civilizations," Sarsour said, referring to the cartoons of Islam's founder published recently in European newspapers. "I speak of that gang in the White House that tries to force one society's culture on another's. This is a part of a campaign against Islam, a campaign aimed at enlisting support in the West for military action against Iran."
Sarsour praised the Hamas terror group, which he said would lead the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority to "progress and achievements, not catastrophes [the Arabic word for catastrophe – Nakba – is how the Muslim world refers to the Arab defeat in the 1948 War of Independence –ed]."
The Arab politician said the overarching goal of the new merger of Arab parties is to prevent the "Israelization" and "Zionization" Arabs of Israel have had to combat. Specifically, Sarsour said the party would work to increase Arab immigration to the Jewish state and increase relations between Arabs with Israeli citizenship and the PA.
MK Ahmed Tibi said that the sentiments outlined by Sarsour represent the wishes of Israeli Arabs and said he did not think he was running against other Arab parties, but against "Zionist parties attempting to win Arab votes."
Fellow MK Taleb A-Sana promised that the party would support bills such as those that brought about the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria and budgets that benefit the Arab public. He did not rule out sitting in a coalition government.
A-Sana, together with Balad Party MK Azmi Bishara were questioned earlier this week by Israel’s Police International Serious Crimes Unit in Petah Tikva regarding their recent trips to enemy states such as Syria and Lebanon, which were taken without receiving permission from the Interior Ministry. While in Syria, A-Sana met with Baath Party officials and members of the Syrian parliament. MK Tibi was investigated for similar infractions last June.