Citizens of Israel will be heading to the polls today, Tuesday, March 23,for the fourth time in less than two years, looking to finally resolve the ongoing political, economic and social crisis. Yet, despite posting impressive achievements in the previous three rounds, the bloc opposed to the continued rule of far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems more splintered than ever.
Last Saturday night, less than 72 hours before the polls were to open, a final, mass rally was held outside Netanyahu’s official residence in central Jerusalem, aimed at motivating voters to get out and vote.
In today’s elections for the 24th Knesset, as an expression of mutual political responsibility, the Joint List is running as a partnership of three parties: Hadash (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – Communist Party of Israel), Balad (The National Democratic Assembly) and Ta’al (The Arab Movement for Change).
The Joint List represents a resounding slap in the face and rejection of the right wing in Israel that continues its attempt to eliminate the voices of the Arab minority and progressive Jews in the Israeli parliament. Hadash has repeatedly said that “The list is our answer to the fascist attacks and racist policies expressed in the barrage of discriminatory and anti-democratic legislation, so detrimental to the citizens of this country, the most prominent being the bill initially passed by Netanyahu’s coalition in July 2018 that enshrined Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people around the world – the Jewish Nation State law; a law which entirely rejects recognition of its Arab-Palestinian citizens as a national minority. The Joint List is an expression of the unity of the struggle of the Arab-Palestinian public against all branches and parties of the government, and its combined efforts with Jewish progressive forces fighting against the occupation, racism, exploitation and discrimination.”
Since its initial formation in 2015, before the general elections for the 20th Knesset, the Joint List’s aim has been to strengthen and unite Israel’s progressive ranks against racism by increasing the political weight and influence of the Arab public and all democratic forces fighting the occupation and a discriminatory Jewish ethnocracy. Each of the three parties today constituting the Joint List retains its ideological identity, while acting in concert in accordance with the list’s fundamental principles and the agreed upon platform:
- The Joint List will fight for a just peace in the region, based on the United Nations’ resolutions, and calling for an end to the occupation of all territories conquered in 1967; the dismantling of all Israeli settlements and the racist separation fence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; the release of all political prisoners; the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem; and the finding of a just solution for the displacement of the Palestinian refugees which assures the right of return in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
- The Joint List will fight for the repeal and, until then, against any implementation of the racist “Nation-State Law” for full national and civic equality for the Arab-Palestinian public in Israel as an indigenous minority with collective and individual rights. The Joint List will act to assure full equality in all walks of life, and will struggle against the regime of racist discrimination and national oppression, in order to achieve equal opportunity, material equality, and corrective and distributive justice. The Joint List will fight against the confiscation of lands and the demolition of homes and for the recognition of all unrecognized villages, in order to provide land for homes, for industrial areas, and for places of employment. The Joint List will battle for recognition of the rights of displaced persons, including their right to return to their villages and lands; will fight to annul compulsory military service for the Arab-Druze community, and against all programs of military recruitment and national service for young Arab people; will act to impart the values of pluralism and tolerance, and will grapple with the afflictions of violence, crime, and the anarchy currently rampant in Arab community in Israel.
- The Joint List will fight against all manifestations of racism and fascism, and for the democratic rights of all citizens. It will fight to annul the Defense (Emergency) Regulations and all legislation which violates rights and restricts liberties, and for the writing and implementation of a democratic constitution for Israel based on the values of equality, justice, and human rights, as well as basic social rights and democratic liberties.
- The Joint List will struggle for workers’ rights and social and environmental justice, and will fight for the interests of the exploited classes in our society against governmental policies which make the poor even poorer, and the rich richer. The list will battle against poverty and unemployment in general, but particularly within Arab society, and for raising the minimum wage to at least 60% of the average wage in the marketplace, and for the assurance of the basic rights of health, education, welfare, and residence for all citizens.
- The Joint List will fight for equal rights for women in all areas of life, and against all forms of oppression, exploitation, discrimination, and violence against women in the family, at work and throughout society, in particular the murder of women. It will struggle to assure the rights of women to education and employment, as well as political, social, and cultural involvement.
- The Joint List will battle for public support and empowerment of culture and art with no discrimination or exclusion. It will fight to return and preserve the status of Arabic as an official language of Israel, and for such status to be given expression in all areas of life. The Joint List will fight for the right to develop Arab culture freely, to enhance national belonging and identity, and to impart a culture of democratic dialog.
- The Joint List rejects imperialist intervention in the affairs of the countries of the region and the world, the policy of “divide and rule,” and ethnic, religious, and community sectarianism, and the dissolution of countries and peoples. It supports the rights of nations to independence, freedom, justice, and democracy.
- The Joint List will fight for nuclear disarmament of the Middle East, including Israel, and the prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction, as part of an effort to create a world free from nuclear weapons.