Members of the Joint Arab List gesture during a news conference in Nazareth, January 23.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
One of the more encouraging developments of the past few years has been the growing integration of Israel’s Arab citizens. The process has been halting, with frequent reversals and setbacks. Yet further proof that the overall trend remains positive arrived just in time for Independence Day last week: In an unprecedented move, the Joint Arab List declined an invitation from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to address the Arab League, due to pressure from the party’s own constituents. In the past, Arab MKs have generally seized any opportunity to travel abroad and denounce Israel, even to countries with which Israel is formally at war, like Syria and Lebanon. And several JAL members were in favor of accepting the latest invitation as well. But they ultimately decided against it, Haaretz reported last Monday, because “party members were concerned that attending a meeting with the Arab League would draw criticism from their constituents for focusing on foreign affairs rather than urgent domestic issues.”