Arab Parties to Form Joint List Within a Week

Balad chair says his party, United Arab List and Hadash to form united Arab front in Knesset, claims 15 mandates becoming major party.

Ari Yashar ,

Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi
Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

MK Jamal Zahalka, chairperson of the radical Arab nationalist Knesset party Balad, stated on Saturday that within a week his party and the other two Arab parties, the Islamist United Arab List and far-left Hadash party, will form a joint list to run together in the March 17 elections.

"After we decide to run together every party will choose its representatives and then we'll form a joint list together," Zahalka said, reports Israel Hayom.

The Arab MK continued "I estimate that it will be easy to form it (the list). After all these aren't new parties. All of the parties already ran several election campaigns and we know our strengths. According to the indicated agreement, what existed in terms of a balance of powers will be preserved."

Zahalka also said he expects to win 15 seats for the joint Arab list in the coming elections, which would make the party one of the largest in the Knesset - recent polls have put that number at 11 mandates.

The three Arab parties have been largely divided on several core issues preventing a union until now, but with the outgoing coalition having raised the threshold to get into the Knesset, the parties are increasingly seeing no chance of being in without joining together.

United Arab List has tended to represent the Bedouin Arab community more, whereas Balad represents the Arab community in the Galilee. Hadash for its part has an ideological divide from the other two, being a communist party.

Arab MKs have a long history of being hostile to the very existence of the state of Israel whose government they serve on. A prime example is MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), who is under a six-month ban from the Knesset plenum for her numerous remarks supporting Hamas terrorists in their war on the Jewish state.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) has also been actively undermining Israel abroad, traveling to Belgium last month to urge the parliament to pass sanctions against Israel, after traveling to London to push for a non-binding vote recognizing the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the "state of Palestine" the month before.

Also from the United Arab List, MK Ibrahim Sarsour in October called Israel "crueler" than the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, and then called for the formation of the "United Islamic States," by which the entire Islamic world would unite in one massive Sharia (Islamic law) state.