Ayman Odeh
Ayman Odeh Basel Awidat/Flash 90

In the wake of reports that Blue & White is actively seeking to establish a minority government with the support of the predominantly Arab Joint Arab List, its chairman Ayman Odeh on Tuesday listed some of the demands his party would make in return for providing this support. Odeh has already met with Benny Gantz, the Blue & White chairman, and future meetings with the party’s representatives are in the pipeline.

“Our people want something very specific,” Odeh said, speaking live on Facebook. “They want to see a direct link between the political situation and their everyday concerns.”

Two issues singled out by Odeh were the issue of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, and the “Deal of the Century” being proposed by the United States.

On the first of these, Odeh noted: “We have a clear position on the issue of the al-Aqsa mosque. We want to see the cessation of all visits of extremist settlers [i.e. all Jews] to the mosque. This is something that [began] during the Netanyahu era, and we want the status quo to be restored. Al-Aqsa is a Muslim place of worship, and east Jerusalem should be the capital city of the Palestinian state. We will be focusing on the issue of al-Aqsa at the present stage [of negotiations],” he added.

Referring to the American plans for a brokered peace agreement, Odeh insisted that if his party is to support Gantz in forming a government, he would demand the cancellation of all unilateral steps included in the US plan, including a declaration of sovereignty over much of Judea and Samaria.

Odeh stressed that his party would not agree to a piecemeal agreement with Gantz’s party, but would demand a comprehensive series of understandings. “We can’t just say, ‘cancel the Kamenitz law’ and let them go and bomb Gaza, or move forward on this ‘Deal of the Century,’” he said.

Blue & White’s recent statements in support of the formation of a minority government contradict explicit statements made during the last three election cycles, when the party assured the public that it would not seek to establish a minority government that would rely on the support of the Joint List. In the last few days, several MKs from the Blue & White party have declared their intention to oppose the formation of such a government. They are now coming under intense pressure from fellow members of their party to follow the line set by party leader Benny Gantz and consent to such an arrangement.

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