Members of the Joint Arab List gesture during a news conference in Nazareth, January 23.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Youssef Atauna of the Joint List plans to resign next week, in light of disagreements in the faction over its rotation agreement, he said in a news conference in Nazareth on Thursday.
The Joint List is made up of several parties – Arab nationalist Balad, Islamic Movement-affiliated United Arab List, the mixed Jewish-Arab communist Hadash party, and MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Change (Ta’al).
Ahead of the 2015 election, the parties reached a rotation agreement, by which some of the lawmakers who were lower on of the Knesset candidates list would resign to make room for new MKs from other parties.
However, when MK Basel Ghattas of Balad resigned from the Knesset and was sentenced to a prison sentence for smuggling cellphones and documents to terrorists in prison, it threw the rotation plan out of whack, such that there was one fewer Balad lawmaker than planned.
Since then, three more MKs have resigned, and now Atauna of Hadash plans to join them, in what he called “a goodwill gesture in order to preserve the Joint List.”
Next on the faction’s list is Wael Younis of Ta’al, which does not solve the problem of underrepresentation for Balad. Younis plans to become an MK and Ta’al will continue negotiations over the future of the rotation deal.
After Younis on the list is Nivin Abu Rahmon of Balad, such that Younis would have to resign for the spirit of the rotation agreement, by which Balad would have four MKs in the second half of this Knesset’s term, to be upheld.
Abu Rahmon would be the record-breaking third female Arab MK if she enters the legislature. She is an activist fighting bigamy in Israeli-Arab society, but opinions are mixed on the issue in the Joint List. Atauna lives with a woman without having divorced his wife. In addition, Joint List MK Taleb Abu Arar of the UAL has two wives.