Haneen Zoabi 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Balad’s three MKs – Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi (who participated in the 2010
Mavi Marmara provocation) and Basel Ghattas – have sponsored a bill that seeks
to define Israel’s Arab minority as an autonomous national unit, an “indigenous
nation” as distinct from “immigrant groupings who are slated for
Balad aims to include its bill in Israel’s set of Basic
Laws, which in effect comprises a quasi-constitution.
In practical terms
Balad calls for a collective social and cultural autonomy within the pre-1967
lines. Indisputably, down the road, this is a separatist formulation geared to
lay the ground for secession from Israel proper.
Balad’s argumentation is
blatantly confrontational. Its bill states that Israeli Arabs “had well preceded
the establishment of Israel in their national cohesion and identity” and that
they therefore consider themselves “as this country’s native
Today, the law guarantees civil rights on an individual
basis but not in the framework of a collective national autonomy.
Arab national autonomy, Balad’s bill further stipulates, will be granted the
right to set up its own national institutions as well as the right to national
representation in all state institutions. Israel is required to acknowledge “the
special link between the Arab national minority in Israel to the Palestinian
nation and all other Arab nationalities.”
All this is fully in keeping
with Balad’s platform since Azmi Bishara established the party in 1995. Bishara
fled Israel in 2007 following accusations of espionage for Hezbollah during the
Second Lebanon War.
Balad always advocated divorcing Israel from its
Jewish identity; ending the special status of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish
National Fund; abrogating the Law of Return for Jews, while allowing an
unlimited influx into Israel of millions of so-called Arab refugees.
fact that this stands no chance of adoption in the Knesset plenum is beside the
point. What counts is that this mindset is increasingly prevalent in Israel’s
Arab sector, that it is hardly challenged there and is fast becoming
Already the “proposed constitution” put forth in 2007 by
Adala, an organization purportedly aiming to uphold rights of Israel’s Arab
citizens, demanded that within-the- Green-Line Israel no longer constitute a
Jewish state; that Israel’s Law of Return be abolished; that Israel’s national
anthem, flag and emblem be changed; that Israel ratify the Arab “right of
return”; that “uprooted” Israeli-Arabs resettle their “confiscated” lands; and
In their own position papers the Mossawa Advocacy Center for
Arab Citizens in Israel and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee likewise argued
for unconditional administrative Arab-sector autonomy, separate representation
for Israeli-Arabs in international organizations, veto power on major
legislative/executive decisions, the elimination of Jewish state symbols and an
overhaul of immigration policy.
There are barely any discernible
differences between the aforementioned and the “Future Vision for Palestinian
Arabs in Israel,” prepared by the National Committee of Arab Mayors in Israel,
and the “Haifa Covenant,” mostly composed by the Mada el-Carmel Arab Center for
Applied Social Research.
While all this challenges Israel’s sovereignty,
it more than anything does a colossal disservice to the country’s Arab
population. Israeli Arabs’ inherent interests hinge on integration and not
segregation – even if it is voluntary and belligerent segregation, as Balad in
Ironically, Balad’s own headliner Zahalka passes up no
opportunity to rail against Israel’s “apartheid regime.”
like him, who exploit Israeli democracy to undermine Israel, do not further the
cause of coexistence.
They intentionally and cynically do the reverse.
They create a vicious cycle whereby they radicalize the Arab sector, turn
pugnacious propaganda into a vote-getting ploy and thereby generate further
This is the last thing this country’s Arabs
Looking around them at the mayhem and severe dysfunction in
neighboring states, they can surely conclude that their lot is vastly superior
to that of their brethren across our borders.
They live in the Middle
East’s freest and most thriving state. Disdainfully deprecating and
delegitimizing it, while promulgating inflammatory agendas for its obliteration,
is hardly conducive to building bridges. That should be elementary for the
Arab-Israeli political leadership that persistently churns out deliberate