Samy Abu Shahadeh
Samy Abu ShahadehMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Outgoing Member of Knesset Samy Abu Shahadeh, chairman of the Balad Party, said on Monday that his party, which failed to pass the threshold in the last elections, intends to act on the international level to advance its goals.

In an interview with the Israeli Arab television channel Enha, Abu Shahadeh said that "the events (the victory of the right in the elections) opened the gate for us to be active on the international level. In my opinion, the gate which is open to us today for international activity is much wider than during the Bennett and Lapid government."

Abu Shahadeh pointed out that during the Bennett-Lapid government, the international community, which was happy that Benjamin Netanyahu was not in power, was more considerate of Israel, and this was reflected, among other things, in the green light given to the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to the activity on the international level, Abu Shahadeh noted the importance of creating a revival in the Palestinian national movement, and in this context, he said, "We intend to improve the Palestinian-Palestinian relationship, as we saw its tremendous strength in the recent uprising (the events of May 2021). At the same time as the demonstrations held in Lod, there were demonstrations in Washington as well."

Abu Shahadeh sees the fact that 140,000 people voted for Balad as a great achievement for his party, and he estimated that its failure to pass the threshold is due, among other things, to the large increase in the voter turnout among Jews.

In response to a request to clarify his remarks in a recent interview with Channel 13 about organizations that interfered in the elections in the Arab sector, Abu Shahadeh replied, "I said that there was interference in the elections in the Arab society, and part of this interference - there are sources (of money) that came to us (the Arab society) from American Jews, and their purpose is to raise the voter turnout. We support raising the voter turnout (in Arab society)."

Abu Shahadeh added, "Our problem lies in the fact that the campaign is not only aimed at increasing the voter turnout, and part of it is aimed at supporting certain parties and not all parties."

Asked whether he means the campaign supported the Joint List and Ra’am, he replied, "Both."