Hadash MK Youssef Atawne of the Joint List plans to resign next week, in the framework of the Joint List rotation agreement, he said on Thursday, February 1, in a news conference held at the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) headquarters in Nazareth. Also participating in the press conference, with MK Atawne were CPI Secretary General Adel Amer, Hadash Secretary Mansour Dahamshe and former Nazareth mayor Ramez Jerayssi.
The Joint List, under the leadership of MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), is composed of four parties – Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – CPI), the Arab nationalist party Balad, the United Arab List affiliated with the Southern Islamic Movement, and MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Change (Ta’al).
Before the March 2015 general elections for the Knesset, the parties forming the Joint List reached a rotation agreement according to which some of the lawmakers who were positioned lower in their respective parties’ list of candidates were committed to resign in mid-term to make room for new MKs from other parties.
However, when MK Basel Ghattas of Balad resigned from the Knesset following his conviction and sentencing to prison for smuggling cell-phones and documents to Palestinians incarcerated in an Israeli prison, it disrupted the original rotation plan because suddenly there was one less MK from Balad than what had been agreed upon.
Since Ghattas’ resignation, three additional Joint List MKs have resigned for the sake of the bloc’s stability. Atawne of Hadash now plans to join these former lawmakers, in what he calls “a gesture of goodwill to preserve the Joint List.” Atawne is an educator and former Chairman of the Workers Council in the Arab-Bedouin village of Hura in the Negev.