Al Jazeera reports that the United Arab List is to become the first party of Palestinian ‘citizens’ of Israel to take part in a governing coalition. This follows the UAL having agreed to join the new Israeli government to be led by Naftali Bennett, the former head of a settler organization.
Mansour Abbas, leader of the UAL, has joined an eight party coalition. The alliance was created to end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years in power. Abbas believes the move will help him improve the lives of Palestinian ‘citizens of Israel’. Palestinians, however, have reacted to his decision with scorn.
According to Al Jazeera, the alliance was formed following an election on March 23, in which a coalition led by Netanyahu’s Likud party rose as the largest party in the Israeli parliament. It failed, however, to gain a majority of 61 seats required to form a government. Al Jazeera reports that this was Israel’s fourth national ballot in just two years. Abbas’s UAL broke away from the Joint Arab List ahead of the March elections. He believed working with Netanyahu and other right-wing parties would improve living conditions for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Unfortunately, Abbas’ decision has weakened the representation of Palestinian parties in parliament.
The UAL says it has secured an agreement to allocate another 53 billion shekels ($16bn) to improve infrastructure and fight crime in Palestinian-majority towns in Israel. It also says the demolition of Palestinian homes built without a permit in Israel will be halted and Bedouin towns in the Negev desert recognized.
Diana Buttu, a Palestinian political analyst and lawyer, says Abbas, “The idea that somehow Abbas is going to be able to muster up enough support to even introduce legislation that is going to counter some of the racist legislation that Palestinians face is a joke.” Meanwhile, Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center, said that Abbas was not addressing the Israeli occupation and that he shows “a lack of vision among the Palestinian leadership”. He added that what was promised to Abbas is irrelevant as this is likely to be a transitional government which would possibly be replaced by a more right-wing administration once Netanyahu is gone.
Al Jazeera reports that in light of the recent 11-day Israeli assault on Gaza feelings among Palestinians that Abbas was mistaken in joining a government that will perpetuate the military occupation and the blockade on the Gaza Strip have deepened. 253 people were killed on the recent attacks on Gaza, including 66 children, with almost 2 000 left wounded.
Umm Muhammed Umar