Members of the Joint Arab List gesture during a news conference in Nazareth, January 23.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Joint (Arab) List could soon be in a dilemma: Should it recommend Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog to form the next government, if the alternative is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Would Herzog offer the Joint List enough goodies and promises so that it joins a leftwing coalition or at least cooperates with it? For the most part, the Joint List and its candidates have been clear that there is no chance they would join any government, since the conditions are not right.
Raja Zaatry, who is a spokesman for the Joint List and responsible for its media campaign, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview earlier this month: “We cannot be a part of a government that still occupies our people.”
He added, however, “We can support it from the outside,” meaning that if the Joint List can help by supporting specific initiatives or by preventing Netanyahu from forming a coalition after the March 17 election, it will do so.
However, disagreements within the Arab list are probably bound to lead to its doom.
The fiercely Arab nationalist Balad party has been a key mover in blocking any cooperative action with left-wing Zionist parties.
It was reportedly behind the move to block a vote-sharing agreement with Meretz that Joint List head Ayman Odeh of Hadash supported.
We can assume that such internal disagreements are going to come to a head after the election, and the next episode could be when the Zionist Union puts on full pressure for cooperation to prevent a Netanyahu government.
In an interview on Channel 10, Odeh was challenged if he could even be considered the leader of the Joint List since he does not seem to have the power to make decisions.
Any move to work toward cooperation with Zionist parties is bound to raise the ire of Balad and the Islamist UAL faction.
All of the happy campaign pictures and slogans are going to mean nothing after the election if the Joint List cannot function as a proper grouping.
Jewish-Arab Hadash was one of the main parties that was hesitating to join the List in the first place, probably because of the ideological differences that are now starting to come to the fore.
In December, at the time negotiations over forming a united list were at its peak, a source told the Post that within Hadash there was disagreement on whether to support a united list or not.
“Hadash prefers unity, but not with Balad or the Islamic Movement’s party,” said the source.
Now it is clear why. These two factions are the leading ideological opponents from within the Joint List to the direction in which its leader, Odeh, wishes to lead it.