Reconciliation Committee Fails to Revive Joint List Ahead of Elections

The reconciliation committee set up a to resolve the differences between the four political parties representing the Arab community in Israel announced on Thursday, July 18, that it is unable to reach an agreement that would run Hadash and the three Arab parties, Ta’al, Balad and the United Arab List, in a joint electoral slate towards the September 17 general elections.

In a press conference convened in Nazareth, the committee chairman, author Mohammad Ali Taha, said that ego had vanquished the hope for unity, and that instead of focusing on serious matters, the discussions had centered on how to divide Knesset seats between the four parties.

Hadash General Secretary Mansour Dahamshe

Hadash General Secretary Mansour Dahamshe (Photo: Al Ittihad)

According to the Arabic-language Communist daily newspaper Al-Ittihad, the failure to renew the Joint List under which the four parties ran together in the 2015 Knesset was a result of Balad’s refusal to agree over the assignment of the12th position on the slate. This seat, which was demanded by Balad, was given by the reconciliation committee to Hadash, while Balad was allocated the 13th position instead. The committee members said that, if the dispute over the 12th spot had been resolved, other issues could likely have been resolved as well.

Hadash’s General Secretary Mansour Dahamshe said that he found demands by other parties to change the reconciliation committee’s decision unacceptable. “We all signed a document saying that we will abide by whatever decision the reconciliation committee makes,” Dahamshe said. “We need to stand by that commitment.”

In 2015, Hadash and the three Arab parties merged and ran together as the Joint List, winning 13 Knesset seats to become the third largest parliamentary bloc in the 20th Knesset. In last April’s elections for the 21st Knesset, the four parties ran in two separate slates – Hadash-Ta’al and Balad-United Arab List – and together garnered only 10 seats, a result largely attributed to low voter turnout because of widespread public disaffection caused by the splitting of the Joint List.

The deadline for factions to submit their slates to the Central Elections Committee is August 1. Leading members of Hadash said they will continue in their efforts to revive the Joint List, but are also preparing for scenarios in which it will either run together with at least one other party or will go to the polls on September 17 running independently.

Related: Uncertain Fate for Renewed Joint List towards September Elections