Mansour Abbas: Coalition crisis with Ra’am remains unresolved

Abbas faced criticism from Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Saturday for remaining in the coalition.

 WITHOUT ABBAS, Naftali Bennett would not have become prime minister. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI)
WITHOUT ABBAS, Naftali Bennett would not have become prime minister.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI)

The crisis between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government and the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party has not yet ended. The party’s membership in the coalition is still frozen, Ra’am head Mansour Abbas said in an interview with Channel 12 on Saturday night.

Abbas denied reports that he had reached an agreement with Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid for Ra’am to resume voting with the coalition after the Knesset recess ends on May 9 – which would end the freeze that began over violence on the Temple Mount.

“We are currently negotiating and trying to reach solutions,” Abbas said. “Meanwhile, we have not reached a framework to end the situation we are in. On one hand, we are not interested in elections, which would not bring anything. On the other, we cannot continue living in uncertainty.

“Therefore, our preference is to advance issues in this coalition – and I hope, by the end of the recess, we will succeed in reaching understandings.”

Abbas faced criticism from Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Saturday for remaining in the coalition despite police violence on the Temple Mount. Sinwar said Abbas was guilty of an “unforgivable crime.”

 MK Mansour Abbas during a discussion on the Electricity Law connecting to Arab and Bedouin towns, during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, January 5, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) MK Mansour Abbas during a discussion on the Electricity Law connecting to Arab and Bedouin towns, during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, January 5, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

In the Channel 12 interview, the Ra’am leader said he does not owe Sinwar anything and he would continue to do what is right for Israeli-Arab society and the Palestinian people.

“We won’t be scolded by him,” Abbas said. “We believe the processes of partnership and tolerance that we are leading in Israel will bring peace between Israel and the Palestinian people closer.”

It was not the first time Hamas criticized Abbas for joining the coalition. Sources in Ra’am called Sinwar’s attack “incitement.”

Officials of the Joint list – the other Arab party now in the opposition – also said it was wrong of Sinwar to interfere in Israeli politics.