Balad MK Basel Ghattas 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Balad)
Incoming Balad MK Basel Ghattas, a Christian Arab and co-founder of Adalah, the
legal center for Arab minority rights, is outspoken about the likelihood that a
two-state solution is no longer viable.
Name: Basel Ghattas
Family Status: Married with one daughter
before becoming an MK: Ghattas received his BSc in civil engineering and his MSc
and DSc in environmental engineering from the Technion- Institute of Technology
in Haifa. He also has an MBA from a joint Northwestern University/Tel Aviv
He is the publisher and founder of Malakam,
Arabic-language economy magazine. He also established an economic consulting
company with other partners.
From 1995-2007 he was the general director
of the NGO The Galilee Society, which focuses on health and the
He was also the co-founder of Itijah, the umbrella
organization for Palestinian NGOs in Israel.
Why did you decide to enter
All my life I was involved in politics and I was involved in many
initiatives. I was involved as a student and when I was an engineer and a
Politics was natural for me.
What are the
first bills you plan to propose?
I want to propose many ideas to improve the
national insurance [welfare] situation and that of the poorest of the poor,
especially among the Arab population where we discovered the allowance to Arabs
doesn’t allow them to go above the poverty line. I want to lead many initiatives
for economic growth in the bottom sector of society with cooperation from the
private sector. There should be incentives for the private sector to engage in
the Arab sector.
On the environmental level, I am interested because of
my experience and education.
I have many ideas in this area. I wrote a
lot about environmental justice.
What was the most interesting experience
on the campaign trail?
I didn’t imagine before the campaign how much we – the
Arabs – are very much exposed to the Jewish media. We are fully dominated by the
Jewish media. I knew that Yediot Aharonot
is very famous and that Arabs watch
channels 1, 10, and 2, but I didn’t realize how much.
We are brainwashed
from the Israeli media and their coverage against Arab MKs. The view they spread
is that the Arab MKs only deal with the Palestinian issue and not our own local
When we asked people we discovered how much our media is lacking.
We don’t even have one TV channel and we have only one radio station in the
Galilee. We are so dependent on the Israeli media.
What is your position
on talks with the Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
reality, Israel is making it impractical because of settlement building, which
means eventually that there will be one state of apartheid and this is
But looking at the reality I think the time is over for the
The government is not capable of withdrawing
thousands of settlers. The coming government will only increase settlements and
will just play the game of negotiations.
Another four years will pass
without a two-state solution and eventually we will see that this won’t happen,
and apartheid and occupation will come.
I am not calling for a one-state
solution but that is what is happening in reality.