Israel elections: Joint List to run again, will not sit in 'racist occupation government'

Chairman MK Aymen Odeh did not close the door on the possibility of endorsing Yair Lapid or Benny Gantz to form the next government.

 Joint List party chairman Ayman Odeh visits the home of of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin, in the east Jerusalem Neighborhood of Beit Hanina, May 11, 2022 (photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)
Joint List party chairman Ayman Odeh visits the home of of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin, in the east Jerusalem Neighborhood of Beit Hanina, May 11, 2022
(photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

The heads of Arab Knesset factions Hadash and Balad signed an agreement on Friday evening to run in a joint list for the upcoming November election.

As part of the agreement, Hadash chair MK Aymen Odeh made several concessions to Balad head Sami Abou Shahadeh in order to keep his faction on the Joint List. 

The concessions include a commitment to "stay out of any coalition that promotes a policy of occupation and racism."

Odeh stresses Joint List could endorse Lapid or Gantz

The Joint List did not close the door on the possibility of endorsing Prime Minister Yair Lapid or Defense Minister Benny Gantz to form the next government, as long as the recommended party signs a written statement vowing to "end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state next to Israel."

In March 2020, following the third election of Israel's ongoing political crisis, Odeh and 14 other Joint List MKs all recommended Gantz as prime minister in a move that Odeh had since admitted he regrets due to Gantz using his endorsement to form a government with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MK Ayman Odeh, the leader of Hadash-Ta'al Party, and Benny gantz, head of the Blue and White Party. (credit: REUTERS)MK Ayman Odeh, the leader of Hadash-Ta'al Party, and Benny gantz, head of the Blue and White Party. (credit: REUTERS)

In a Shabbatarbut event in the central Arab city of Tira, Odeh stressed that the agreement with Abou Shahadeh's party does not include an outright refusal to recommend a candidate.

"We didn't say or no," Odeh remarked at the event. "We have a list of demands...Gantz and Lapid should sweat to get the recommendation of the real Left, the real democrats," he continued.

Joint List: Israel Police, Shin Bet failed to protect Arab citizens

The agreement also calls on the Israeli government to annul the Nation-State Law, which grants Arab-Israelis a "special" citizenship status

It also laid the blame for increased violence and crime in the Arab sector at the feet of Israel Police and the Shin Bet, claiming law enforcement has failed its mission to protect Arab-Israeli citizens due to political control asserted over the security establishment.

In terms of positions agreed to on the list, Odeh will, as expected, lead The Joint List once again. Hadash re-elected MK Ayman Odeh as head of its list in the Hadash primaries held last month, with MKs Aida Touma-Sliman and Ofer Cassif both retaining their seats as well.

Abou Shahadeh of Balad leaped from third to second in the list, ahead of Ta'al chairman MK Ahmed Tibi.

Ahmad Tibi's Ta'al to discuss Joint List run on Saturday

IMPORTANT VOICES too. Election campaign banners depict Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh, leaders of the Hadash-Ta’al joint list that ran in the April elections (credit: REUTERS)IMPORTANT VOICES too. Election campaign banners depict Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh, leaders of the Hadash-Ta’al joint list that ran in the April elections (credit: REUTERS)

Ta'al, which has yet to confirm if it will run in The Joint List in November, was reserved the third and fifth positions if talks bear fruit. In the event that Ta'al runs independently, former Balad MK Mtanes Shehadeh will receive the fifth slot.

The faction's central committee, headed by Tibi, convened Saturday afternoon to discuss the recent developments in negotiations. Ta'al will be without MK Osama Saadi, who announced last week he will not run in the upcoming election, ending a three-year spell in the Knesset.