Islamist Ra’am (United Arab List) party froze its participation in the coalition and the Knesset in general on Sunday night to protest police violence against Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. The move has no immediate practice implications given that the Knesset is on break until May, but it is one more symbolic blow to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition, which earlier this month lost its slim parliamentary majority falling from 61 to 60 Knesset seats.
Dozens of Muslim worshipers were injured by the Israeli occupation forces who raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning in an attempt to secure the entry of Jewish fanatics to the holy site to celebrate Passover. In last Friday, 400 worshipers were arrested and 152 injured (Photo: Wafa)
The four-member Ra’am party, headed by MK Mansour Abbas, took this step based on a decision by the party’s religious advisory body known as the Shura Council. The decision has been made in order to calm the tensions in the party on the one hand, but not severely damage the coalition ties on the other. The decision was made with full knowledge al collaboration of Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
Hadash, which is part of the Joint List, called on Ra’am to leave the coalition altogether. “Get out of the government of occupation immediately,” the front stated. Hadash dismissed the political significance of any step taken in coordination with Bennett and Lapid. Such an idea is “dismissive of the intelligence” of the party’s supporters and “throws sand in their eye,” Hadash stated. “The demand of the hour is to overthrow the government,” it added.
“Not coming to the Knesset during recess. A dramatic decision,” Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, sarcastically said on Twitter. MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List), said, “Ra’am’s announcement of freezing their membership in the coalition during the Knesset’s recess is like announcing a diet during Ramadan.” During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started two weeks ago, worshipers fast between sunrise and sunset.
In last weekend, MK Odeh told Haaretz he believed that Bennett’s government would fall but that the Joint List had no intention of helping far-right former PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the Likud party, in his effort to either replace this current government. Netanyahu, he said, does not have enough votes to replace the government or take any other steps against.