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Meet the Knesset members from the Joint List

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Something has changed inside Israel for its Palestinian citizens. The hard data is revealing: voter turnout jumped by ten-percent from the last election and in the Joint Arab List’s party leader’s home district it was nearly an unheard of 80-percent. Civic engagement is happening, but that is not the only turn. The joint list is full of fresh faces with seven first time Knesset members, and two women, five communists, two national democrats, two Islamists, one Christian and one Israeli-Jew.

Party leader Ayman Odeh, 40, embodies most the directional shift inside of the bloc. He uses a civil rights framework, noted for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. while campaigning, telling voters he sees the party as a vehicle to mobilize mass non-violent civil disobedience. In Haifa days before the election Odeh said he wanted to organize an equal rights march of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish-Israelis in one year’s time.

For supporters, this isn’t fluff. Odeh’s emphasis on partnership—not just coexistence with Jewish-Israelis—is widely endorsed. He has a long history in politics. He held his first position in public office in Haifa’s city council at the age of 23 as a member of Israel’s Jewish-Arab communist party, Hadash. There he fought for student tax breaks and quickly rose up the political ranks to become Hadash’s chairman while still in his 30s.

At first glance the Joint Arab List is a band of four parties that were coerced to run on a single ticket after the Israeli election threshold was increased, an obstacle propelled by right-wing groups. The perception was hardliners wanted Arab parties out of Knesset. The way they could achieve this was to force an ultimatum: Arab political groups, and one mixed party, would have to unite in a country where political divisions can be lethal to a faction’s survival.

The candidates could have kept their old political divides alive, running on two lists instead of one, and still made it into Knesset. The primary discords are between the Islamist and communist, the two largest factions inside of the bloc. They differ in areas of labor and women’s rights. Do you support the separation of religion and state, the secular parties asked the Islamic group during a six-week period where they hashed out their disagreements? It was a genuine coming to terms. “Yes,” they said, “Because we don’t want to live in a Jewish state,” relayed Knesset-elect and first time politician Aida Touma-Suleiman while still on the campaign trail at an event in Tel Aviv in early March. Touma-Suleiman is a celebrated feminist. Though she has been a member of the communist party for over two decades, this will be her first time in public office.

By sitting together, over and over, to build a united front, Arab parties made pivotal decisions in the lead up to announcing their candidates. Foremost they realized as Palestinian citizens of Israel they all agree on one most basic principle: there should be equality under law and in practice between them and Israeli-Jews. Everything else, the peace process, the two state solution, polygamy could fall to the side. Their constituents see the internal resolutions and divisions as a new way forward, where diversity remains intact while pursuing equal rights with the power of Israel’s newly-minted third largest political party.

Meet the next Knesset members from the Joint Arab List:

Ayman Odeh (1) – Hadash
Many supporters have said Odeh represents “a new way forward” for Arab parties in Israel. He is deeply influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights struggle in the U.S., along with his upbringing in a mixed Jewish-Arab community. Odeh believes in securing the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel by working with Jewish-Israeli partners. In this election season he became well known amongst Israelis after a televised debate with Avigdor Liberman who said Odeh should not be allowed to speak in Israel, and should go to the West Bank.

Masud Ghnaim (2) – United Arab List
Ghnaim is a current Knesset member from an Islamic party and a teacher by profession. He has a degree in middle eastern history from the University of Haifa. He previously served on the city council of his home town Sakhnin, in northern Israel.

Dr. Jamal Zahalka (3) – Balad
Zahalka is has been a member of Knesset since 2003. He is the leader of the national democratic party, Balad. He assumed the chariman position after former head Azmi Bishara went into exile.

Dr. Ahmed Tibi (4) – Ta’al
Out of all of the joint list’s Knesset members, Tibi has the longest history inside of Israel’s parliament. He has served since 1999 and is the co-founder of Ta’al and Islamic party. He is a vocal advocate for the Palestinian right of return for refugees. Before entering politics Tibi was a gynecologist.

Aida Touma- Suleiman (5) – Hadash
Touma-Suleiman has been a member of Hadash for decades and this will be her first time in public office. She is the founder of the feminist organization Women Against Violence and is the editor-in-chief of al-Ittihad, an Arabic daily newspaper published in Israel.

Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (6) – United Arab List
Hajj Yahya is an engineer by training and this will be his first time as a member of Knesset.

Hanin Zoabi (7) – Balad
Zoabi is perhaps the most well-known Palestinian citizen of Israel serving in Knesset. She has held this position since 2009 and during her term in public service she has been attacked while speaking on the Knesset floor, and holds the title of the Knesset member with the longest suspension from office in Israel’s history. During election season, she was physically assaulted while speaking at a debate, along with a Jewish-Israeli spokesperson for the Joint List. Prior to entering politics Zoabi was a journalist.

Dov Khenin (8) – Hadash
Khenin is the Joint Arab List’s only Jewish-Israeli member to be elected into Knesset. He is a veteran member of Knesset, serving since 2006. Khenin is a political scientist with a PhD from Hebrew University.

Taleb Abu Arar (9) – United Arab List
Abu Arar is a prominent Bedouin politician and attorney. He first entered Knesset in 2013. Before, Abu Arar was the head of a local council in the Negev.

Dr. Yousef Jabarin (10) – Hadash
Jabarin is from Umm el-Fahm, a village in northern Israel that is regarded as a political stronghold for Palestinian citizens of Israel. He hold a PhD in law with a specialty in human rights. This will be his first term in Knesset.

Dr. Basel Ghattas (11) – Balad
Ghattas is a seasoned political figure. He co-founded the Balad party with his cousin Azmi Bishara in 1995, although he did not enter Knesset until 2013. He holds a PhD in engineering from Technion, and is of a Christian background.

Osama Saadi (12) – Ta’al
Saadi is a human rights lawyer known for working on issues relating to Palestinian prisoners. This will be his first term in Knesset.

Abdullah Abu Marouf (13) – Hadash
Abu Marouf is the only Druze member of Joint Arab List to enter Knesset. He is the founder of the Druze Initiative Committee and works with Physicians for Human Rights, as he is also a urologist.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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75 Responses

  1. just on March 21, 2015, 10:53 am


    How incredibly impressive they all are! Huge thanks for this important article and the profiles of these women and men. It’s a great reference to have handy, too!

    This is how success works. Focus on the similarities and find common purpose; let the differences fall by the wayside.

    (It’s also how peace happens, btw)

  2. Stephen Shenfield on March 21, 2015, 11:02 am

    I noticed that the official name is simply the Joint (or United) List. It is not in principle an Arab list. It contains one Jew and in future there may be more, especially if it aims to attract more Jewish voters. So let us call it by its correct name, without the qualifier “Arab.”

    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 2:31 am

      I agree with Stephen, it shouldn’t be called the “Arab List” because that doesn’t make it very welcoming, since it goes against the vocation of the group that includes a Jew. Also the name of its leader shouldn’t be mangled as in the photo above, ” Uda” or ‘Odeh”, but written according to how it’s pronounced, which is “Oudah” meaning the verb “return”, as in the Palestinians’ cherished RoR.

    • fphooozziye on March 22, 2015, 10:57 am

      Stephen is correct, yet he is in error as well.

      If I am not mistaken, not only is there a Jewish member, but I believe I read there was likewise a Christian member and a Drive.

      The Party out to use “United PParty ” wherever feasible if it wants to grow and attract members who are unhappy with the main proponents but looking for an alternative.

      Those members may be from other than Arab religions and thus will have difficulties in joining otherwise.

  3. zaid on March 21, 2015, 1:20 pm

    wasn’t hanin banned from the election??

    • just on March 21, 2015, 4:06 pm

      No, but it was not for lack of effort by the most odious and racist of Israelis.

      “On February 12th, 2015, Israel’s Central Elections Committee voted, 27–6, to disqualify Zoabi from running in the following month’s Knesset election. A few days later, on February 18, Israel’s High Court of Justice overturned that ruling in an 8–1 decision, freeing Zoabi to run in the March 17 election.[35]”

      • zaid on March 21, 2015, 6:17 pm


  4. ramzijaber on March 21, 2015, 1:36 pm

    The INCREDIBLE 13!!! You make us PROUD. A million Mabruk.

    The Joint List is leading the way forward towards the only solution, 1SS (1S1P1V) for all its citizens regardless to religion or ethnicity or national origin.

    Thank you for your leadership and courage.

    • ritzl on March 21, 2015, 6:01 pm

      I’ll see your million Mabruck, Ramzi, and raise you a million more.

      I can’t help but feel that this is a VERY important and positive development – with all the accompanying hope for Palestinians inside and outside Israel.

    • pabelmont on March 22, 2015, 10:35 am

      This list (those actually elected) makes me proud, too. Look at the education there! Look at the willingness to compromise in favor of the common good. Look at the MLK reference (he is not the only great civil rights leader, but he has always made me proud, too). That is the signal, someone else has said it, for Israeli-Jews to join this coalition next time around and to watch it’s legislative behavior, I hope in admiration, in the meantime. The “left” among Israeli-Jews may finally find a “home” after a long period in exile.

  5. a blah chick on March 21, 2015, 2:14 pm

    Joint List-13

    Lieberman’s vanity party-6


  6. Blownaway on March 21, 2015, 3:35 pm

    Ironic that as a result of Liebermans attempt to marginalized the Arab party through the 3.5 threshold rule they gained strength and his party almost missed

    • Bornajoo on March 21, 2015, 6:37 pm

      “Ironic that as a result of Liebermans attempt to marginalized the Arab party through the 3.5 threshold rule they gained strength and his party almost missed”

      Well said Blownaway. A poetic irony!

    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 2:40 am

      Lieberman’s a schmuck, in the Yiddish literal sense.

      • Walid on March 22, 2015, 6:19 am

        Lieberman in the news: ” The decision on Iranian’s nuclear issue is taken in Israel and NOT in the USA” and so many other words which I didn’t catch, something to the effect that the US can talk all it wants with Iran, but in the end the decision has to come from Israel.

  7. JLewisDickerson on March 21, 2015, 3:43 pm

    RE: “Something has changed inside Israel for its Palestinian citizens. The hard data is revealing: voter turnout jumped by ten-percent from the last election and in the Joint Arab List’s party leader’s home district it was nearly an unheard of 80-percent. Civic engagement is happening,” ~ Deger

    Audio – 3/18 Lisa Goldman: The Grim Results of Israel’s Election

    Lisa Goldman, a Contributing Editor at 972 Magazine, explains why Benjamin Netanyahu was always likely to win reelection as Israeli Prime Minister. Why the elections are a big win for the Right in Israel. The importance of the Joint List and Israeli Arab politics. The failure of Yair Lapid’s centrist politics. Will Israel’s next coalition government will be even more far right? Israel is a right wing society. Netanyahu and the permanence of the oppression of the Palestinians. Why the Occupation isn’t hurting Israelis but inequality is. Will Israel finally face pressure from its European and American partners? Also will the Jewish community in America get fed up with Israel?


    P.S. The consummate truth-telling podcaster Sam Seder has an Indiegogo campaign to help sustain and grow his excellent Majority Report!
    ✔ You can contribute here. –

  8. JLewisDickerson on March 21, 2015, 3:57 pm

    RE: “In Haifa days before the election Odeh said he wanted to organize an equal rights march of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish-Israelis in one year’s time.” ~ Deger

    MY COMMENT: The 50th anniversary of the Occupation will occur in 2017. Each month of that year the Palestinians should highlight a different oppressive aspect of the Occupation.

    • just on March 21, 2015, 4:01 pm

      They should start tomorrow~ if every different “oppressive aspect of the Occupation” is to be highlighted every month, it will take many, many months to fit them all in.

      • JLewisDickerson on March 21, 2015, 5:24 pm

        What about January 2016* thru May 2017 with a huge event in June 2017 on the 50th anniversary?

        * “Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Occupation, so this month we are protesting the . . .” (checkpoints, house demolitions, administrative detentions, IDF killings of Palestinians, land theft, etc)

      • ritzl on March 21, 2015, 6:02 pm

        Aye just and John.

  9. just on March 21, 2015, 5:16 pm

    Sour grapes:

    “Isaac Herzog slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday in a series of meetings and TV interviews for his comments ahead of Israel’s election last week that Arabs were “going out in droves” to vote.

    The Zionist Union chairman, who last week lost the 20th Knesset election to Netanyahu’s Likud by six seats, said during several meetings he held on Saturday that Netanyahu “humiliated 20 percent of Israeli citizens for the sake of his election campaign” with those remarks. “His first action must be to repair his ways – and not in empty words – and the severe fissure he has caused in doing so. He has to do everything to turn them into citizens with equal rights.”

    Herzog also said that, “Judaism always knew to respect foreigners and those who are different, and in his harsh words against one-fifth of Israeli citizens he has harmed Jewish ethics and continued to tear and dismantle the human mosaic that makes up Israeli society,” adding that “words of appeasement from his spokesman will not help to seal the wound he has opened.””

    more @

    Yeah, because Herzog and Livni are SOOO inclusive and non- racist. They reached right out to the Joint Arab List…. ahem.

    The JAL was the ONLY party that was not exclusive and racist. They are committed to a just coexistence and more.

    As for the last paragraph, Herzog would do well to remember that the majority of Israelis don’t follow his assertion.

    • ritzl on March 21, 2015, 6:10 pm

      Great comment, just. “The ONLY party…”

    • a blah chick on March 21, 2015, 7:52 pm

      “humiliated 20 percent of Israeli citizens for the sake of his election campaign” with those remarks. “His first action must be to repair his ways – and not in empty words – and the severe fissure he has caused in doing so. He has to do everything to turn them into citizens with equal rights.”

      And yet when Lieberman attacked Odeh on TV saying that he did not belong in Israel Herzog sat there and said nothing in Odeh’s defense. He’s only piping up now because he thinks it’s safe to do so.


    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 3:06 am

      “Herzog also said that, “Judaism always knew to respect foreigners and those who are different, and in his harsh words against one-fifth of Israeli citizens he has harmed Jewish ethics and continued to tear and dismantle the human mosaic that makes up Israeli society,”

      What a load of BS. This a-hole would have you believe that Jewish ethics apply also to those non-Jews inside Israel proper but he wouldn’t think twice about the 40 or so laws that discriminate against Palestinian-Israelis. What about Israel’s treatment of Africans or of the non-Jews of Gaza and the WB? The guy’s a worse snake than Netanyahu.

      • can of worms on March 24, 2015, 1:03 am


        +1. I’d much rather they call me and my people’s suffering “a drove of Arab voters moving to the polls” than a “human mosaic” LOL!!!

    • jon s on March 24, 2015, 4:48 am

      The Joint List was not the only non-exclusive and non-racist party.
      Meretz includes MK Issawi Freij, who was reelected.
      The Zionist Union Knesset faction will also also includes an Arab- Zuheir Bahlul.

      • ritzl on March 24, 2015, 7:41 pm

        Sure, jon s. They each have an “Arab” member but ONLY one smacks very strongly of liberal, feel-goody, tokenism. More and you might have an embryonic point.

        But here’s my question to you as a Meretz supporter. Would you support a union between the Joint List and Meretz? Call it JML (or the Democratic Union as a poke to Herzog).

        Would YOU, jon s, or Meretz as it’s currently constituted, support including the Joint List in a “left” government coalition in a meaningful way? That means the second largest party gets Justice and Education portfolios.

        Please note, those are not “will it happen” questions. It won’t. They are “would you support” questions.

  10. ritzl on March 21, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Yet another great article on this, Allison.

    I hope this becomes a regular feature here at MW, almost as much as I hope the Joint List has the resilience/sumud to survive through the political storm they are about to pass into/through.

    SO much is riding on the success of these brave folks.

    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 4:11 am

      Ritzl, don’t break out the champagne just yet, you may be expecting of them much more than they can actually deliver.

      Diana Butto that knows a thing or two about Israel is concerned that this unity that has been forced on the parties may actually end up causing the disintegration of the separate parties as people that rallied behind it may soon become disllusioned that nothing has changed. Either way, Butto can’t accept that a Palestinian political party could work within a Knesset framework that continues with its anti-Palestinian racist policies in Israel, Gaza and the WB.

      Israeli-Palestinian academic and nationalist As’ad Ghanem faults the members on the list for being more preoccupied with getting a Knessest seat than with advancing Palestinian aspirations and also faults them from accepting directives by Palestinian nationalist leaders that encourage them to work within the framework of Zionist legislators that vote for a Zionist leader. Ghanem believes the list of candidate was wrong to accept political Gulf money for their campaigns. Accepting a 2 SS makes them amenable to having Palestinians remain second class citizens in Israel, which goes against the grain of a one state for all. Ghanem also believes list members should have embarked on a program that addresses the 48 Nakba and the 67 occupation and not merely concentrating on winning a Knesset seat.

      • ritzl on March 23, 2015, 1:41 pm

        Hi Walid, believe it or not I agree with you. The optimism has to be cautious. Very cautious. But very energized as well. How to balance that is the issue for we observers.

        This profoundly important development/event/opportunity is still such a flood of sometimes conflicting impulses that it’s tough to pull them together into a coherent stream of thought. So here are my bracketing thoughts, in no particular order, except for the first one, fwiw (and I may forget some connective thoughts in the process, there are so many…):

        1) I have already written here, rather obliquely (“…beyond keeping it together…”) about the cautious part of cautious optimism. Let me make it explicit: “keeping ‘it’ together” is the current “Prime Directive” for the Joint List. Nothing else matters at this point. It has superceded the previous two prime directives of “Putting ‘it’ together” and “Getting ‘it’ elected.” This “directive” will be superceded by “Doing something good with ‘it’.” The fact that Odeh has succeeded wildly, and against all odds in, working through the first two “directives” bodes well, imho, for working to and through the next political hoops. But they absolutely have to keep it together for any kind of beneficial outcome for anybody. No question. They may fail. But they may not.

        2) There is no downside for Joint List failure, but there is a HUGE, landscape altering upside for their success. That’s the environment for me, for this. If they fail, they become like water on the proverbial sand of Israeli racist, meat-grinder politics. Poof. Back to the way it was. But if they succeed, there are whole new beneficial political worlds to explore. Beneficial to Palestinians (and Jews) both inside and outside Israel “proper.”

        3) Buttu is a hero to me. She has been slapped down and kicked repeatedly in the ribs, emotionally and intellectually, by both her opponents and her notional PA allies. She has always gotten back up and maybe more importantly, declined to make a career out of peace process like your buddy Erekat (j/k Walid, j/k). She made it through, but not unaffected. She is pessimistic on this, and rightfully so. Her experienced and prescient voice is a HUGE part of the mix that is going to help the J/L make “it” work, because if they even begin to start believing their own BS/start down the co-opted/corrupted path, it’s over. The perturbing political forces aligned against them (on all sides) will not allow for a correction.

        5) By grouping Buttu and Ghanem together you may be referring to this article: Three Palestinian views, a spectrum of takes on the matter. Buttu was the pessimist there. No doubt. But there was a third, optimistic Palestinian voice there of Nijmeh Ali (“The Beginnings of a Historic Shift”). Imho, all three views have to be taken together to make a judgement about the prospective outcome of this, because all three are absolutely correct.

        6) Related to (5), there was a reported 80% Palestinian-Israeli turnout in Haifa (Odeh’s home area). They are Palestinians too. I have to believe that that level of voting means they sense something remarkable here too.

        7) Also related to (5) Buttu’s view is informed by her Palestinian heritage and experience. I’m Norwegian, and absolutely and outsider to this. My great-great grandfather was a dirt-scratch farmer near Bergen. His son sailed the Clipper ships around “the Horn.” His son was a “something from nothing” civil engineer. His son (“Dad”) was a entrepreneurial pioneer in piezo-electric quartz oscillator production. My heritage tells me that the visible horizon is not [ever] “all there is.” That progression informs me such that that’s just the way I view these things (aka “opportunities). It may sound all “rosy scenario” but it’s really a balanced judgement, expressed as a conclusion. It is what it is. I do NOT mean it to supplant Palestinian judgements and experience. I only offer it as part of the perceptual mix.

        Big FWIW, but sometimes the outsider can see what’s on the other side of the “bars,” especially given the Palestinian experience at the hands of successive Israeli despotic regimes. Again, just a small part of the mix.

        8) I’m not sure why anyone would conclude categorically that the J/L IS going to fail. Big grain of salt, sure, but dire predictions of failure, nope. They have shown ability, deftness, and resilience so far. That is hugely significant, imho.

        9) Odeh is a big part of my thoughts on this. He is different and inclusive. As just said upthread, “the ONLY party” (and politician) with that kind of message (“democratic camp”) in all of Israeli politics. He is NOT the moldy, stale, gimpy, lip-service, calcified, phone-it-in, SOS “left” politics that his ostensible coalition partners (in or out…) [have come to??] embrace and signify. New, fresh, dynamic, coupled with capable and courageous. That “has to” resonate with disaffected voter across the Israeli political spectrum.

        The fact that he’s the real deal, also makes him a threat. End of thought/not going there.

        10) Prospectively, and assuming the J/L keeps it together (which as you say, is a monstrous IF, and may not be a valid assumption), I see him, and his successors, helping WB/Gaza Palestinians by mitigating (medium-term) the pureness of Israel’s evil treatment of them. Long-term, I believe they are the decades-long mechanism for inclusion of annexed Palestinians into an equality-based Israel. The shape of things to come (a la the Triumph TR7, people scoffed, but 20 years later, it was!).

        11) The J/L is now well within a nuclear political minefield. Too much “NOW! dammit!” and click-boom. With so much riding on their success, and as hard as it must be for Palestinians everywhere to embrace after SO much ill-treatment and disappointment, patience (ugh) equals perseverance in this endeavor, imho. A lot of times that equation is a political suppression/control mechanism, but in this case it would seem, to me anyway, to be the most productive path.

        I wish it were otherwise.

        Some of this may have sounded pissy. It was absolutely not intended to. I struggle with this stuff. I can only say that I fundamentally agree with you, but tend to lean more toward the significance/value of the opportunity this presents (and the pursuit of its realization), while being fully aware of the obstacles.

        Peace Walid. Your observations and context are really meaningful to me (re: Important) as an outsider. Thank you.

      • just on March 23, 2015, 2:00 pm

        Wow, ritzl.

        A wholly spectacular post. I thank you very much for it.

        (Some of my very best ‘venner’ are Norwegian~ it makes great sense that you are of that hardy stock!)

      • ritzl on March 23, 2015, 3:21 pm

        Sköl, just.

      • ritzl on March 23, 2015, 4:18 pm

        Say what you will about Thomas Kinkade, I have this print up on my wall. It resonated for a bunch of reasons. I think it’s relevant here. (My avatar shortly.)

        It’s called “Perseverance” but it may well have been called “Sumud.”

      • Walid on March 23, 2015, 6:18 pm

        Thanks for your comprehensive reply, ritzl. You were right about my having sourced Buttu’s and Ghanem’s comments from that article. I didn’t want to come across as believing that the List will fail, I was mostly saying that it had poor chances of winning; I’m actually rooting for it in spite of the odds working against it from within and without. There’s a lot of hand-wrestling going on in the Arab world on how to get over the Palestinian problem and none of the options being considered involve having Palestinians returning to their homeland in substantial numbers. This translates into the million and a half refugees remaining and multiplying forever in squalid camps in the 3 neighbouring host countries, none of which welcome the prospect of this perpetuity, hence the ongoing efforts by the West and its friends in the East to redraw the region’s map to make it happen. In other words, while there’s an ongoing effort to see the birth of a Palestinian state in any shape or form, there’s another ongoing effort to prevent any prospect of the refugees returning to it if it should ever happen. There was a failed attempt to do it in Lebanon in 2006, another in 2011, which is still on progress in Syria and surely Jordan is next on the hit list. The Arabs contributing to the List’s campaign fund isn’t much more than a smoke screen; none of those contributing countries would take in refugees to permanently settle them. I guess I have to accept that the List will be working for the survival of the List itself and will be powerless to do anything to help the WB and Gaza or the refugees.

      • Walid on March 23, 2015, 6:28 pm

        “(Some of my very best ‘venner’ are Norwegian~ it makes great sense that you are of that hardy stock!) (just)

        Who can forget Dr. Mads Gilbert and Dr. Erik Fosse and how much they gave of themselves for Gaza?

      • just on March 23, 2015, 6:43 pm

        Takk ritzl!

        Walid, I will never forget Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse.

        Israel won’t either, as they have banned Dr. Gilbert from Israel. They absolutely, positively cannot handle the truth.

        Tragic, isn’t it, that Israel does not tolerate any humanitarians or lifesavers who try to ameliorate their wicked attempts to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their own land?

        Oh wait, they honored Nir Barkat fairly recently.

      • RoHa on March 23, 2015, 7:18 pm

        ritzl, “sköl” is a rare word in Swedish. I had to look it up. It has a variety of meanings, including “straight clipped bangs” and “tectonic fissure”. None of them seem to make sense in the context.

        The letter ö is not used in Norwegian. Ø is used instead.

        Perhaps you are thinking of “skål”. It’s the same in both languages.

      • ritzl on March 23, 2015, 7:23 pm

        Great points on the Palestinian refugees/diaspora, Walid. I totally left them out.

        Within the context of their horrendous treatment by the Arab world over decades and from the getgo, the List may actually be their last best hope, powerless and susceptible to manipulation as it is at the moment.

        Well said.

        I know it’s lame, but it’s all I’ve got… Fingers crossed!!

        PS. Odeh’s Twitter address is @Ayman_Odeh_TJL. He only has 1,868 followers as of today. A few million more might lift his spirits for the challenges to come. ;)) (He posts in Hebrew.)

      • ritzl on March 23, 2015, 7:31 pm

        Dr. Mads!!!

      • Walid on March 23, 2015, 8:03 pm

        Hundreds of millions were reportedly thrown at Arafat by the Arabs to keep him away from their gates, ritzl, and they gave him Lebanon in 1969 to lord over, to keep him out of their hair. The Lebanese population paid a heavy price for this appeasement.

      • ritzl on March 23, 2015, 8:16 pm

        Ha RoHa! I plead the fifth generation! :)

        Yep. Skäl.

        That sure explains a lot of kindly-funny looks over the years.

        And a hearty tectonic fissure to you, my friend!

      • RoHa on March 24, 2015, 5:25 am


        “A” with a pom-pom. “Ä” is a Swedish letter. “Æ” is the Norwegian equivalent.

        In another post you said you were Norwegian. After five generations, do you really think that is a meaningful claim? Especially when you have an Australian lecturing you on the differences between Swedish and Norwegian?

        (“Skäl” is mostly used to mean “reason” or “motive”. It also has a bunch of incredibly obscure meanings connected with fish and calves. Most Swedes don’t know those meanings, and don’t care. They live happy and productive lives without them.)

      • RoHa on March 24, 2015, 5:35 am

        According to the Swedish Academy, one meaning is :

        “The fungus-like coating on the hooves of a calf. Frequently removed for draft oxen, so as to give the hoof a more concave form and thus better purchase on ice.”

        If you didn’t read MW, you would probably never learn this sort of thing.

      • Mooser on March 24, 2015, 11:23 pm

        Sweden, lest we forget, is where Nord keyboards are built. And that’s a point in Sweden’s favor any day.

    • jon s on March 25, 2015, 2:56 am

      Meretz has (only ) five seats, so having one Arab member, freely elected (no “affirmative action” needed) by the party convention, is not bad. Pretty much reflects the proportion of Arab citizens.

      Sure, I would support such a union.
      Sure, I would support including representatives of the JL as legitimate coalition partners.
      As a matter of fact, during the campaign, I had the opportunity to pose a question to Mr. Herzog and that’s what I asked him. I wasn’t very happy with his answer.

      • ritzl on March 25, 2015, 9:24 am

        Hmm, jon s. There’s hope there. I guess we’ll see where it all leads.

        Thanks for the response.

    • ritzl on March 25, 2015, 9:22 am

      Yes, RoHa. You’re right. I am not really Norwegian Norwegian. All heritage and family stories at this point (and an overwhelming urge to climb the rigging on large sailing ships). 100% US. I did spend some time at Andøya Rocket Range though, a good while back. Does that count? :)

      Anyway, yeah, Skål. Thanks, I had hoped you hadn’t noticed that I fucked that up a second time. I should know better. :))

  11. just on March 21, 2015, 7:51 pm

    From Ilan Pappe’s article in EI and wrt JAL:

    “……..The result was quite catastrophic for all the renowned pollsters. They missed the headline that should have been announced when the exit polls were done — a smashing victory for the Likud in 2015 and a disappointing result for the liberal Zionist camp. The more exciting news was the success of the Palestinian citizens of Israel who united to form the Joint List and won the third largest bloc of seats after the Likud and the Zionist Union.

    Likud’s victory

    The three outcomes — an invigorated Likud, a defeated Labor Party (the Zionist Union is a partnership of Labor and Livni’s “Initiative” list) and a united Palestinian representation — can either be ignored by the international community or serve as a catalyst for new thinking on the evergreen question of Palestine…………


    The conclusion for the international community should be clear now. Only decolonization of the settler state can lead to reconciliation. And the only way to kick off this decolonization is by employing the same means exercised against the other long-standing settler state of the twentieth century: apartheid South Africa.

    The option of BDS — boycott, divestment and sanctions — has never looked more valid than it does today. Hopefully this, together with popular resistance on the ground, will entice at least some of the second and third generation of the Jewish settler-colonial society to help stop the Zionist colonization project.

    Pressure from outside and from the resistance movement within are the only way to force Israelis to reframe their relationship with all the Palestinians, including the refugees, on the basis of democratic and egalitarian values. Otherwise, we can expect Likud to win forty seats in the next elections, perhaps on the back of the next outraged Palestinian uprising.

    There are two reasons why this approach is still feasible. One is the Joint List. It will have no impact whatsoever on the Israeli political system. In fact, like the Palestinian Authority, the days of Palestinian representation in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are numbered. If a united list can have no impact, and if a disempowered PA does not satisfy even liberal Zionists, then the time has come to look for new forms of representation and action.

    The Joint List’s importance lies elsewhere. It can ignite the imagination of other Palestinian communities about the possibilities of unity of purpose. That Islamists and secular leftists can work together for a better future is an example that can have far-reaching implications not only for Palestinians and Israelis, but for an increasingly polarized Europe. The Joint List represents a group of native Palestinians who know the Israelis well, are deeply committed to democratic values and have risen in importance among the rest of the Palestinians after years of being marginalized and almost forgotten.”

    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 5:14 am

      Just, what is the power that will actually be in the hands of these 13 members and what was allowed Hanin Zoabi to accomplish in the Knesset other than getting the Zionist creeps all riled up?

      • just on March 22, 2015, 7:53 am

        Is that a rhetorical question, Walid? Ilan Pappé spoke to some of it quite elegantly in the piece I quoted.

        Once again, there is “unity” and that will indeed prove bothersome to the Israelis who love nothing more than “divide and conquer” and to sow discord ~ witness last summer and the reaction to the PA/Hamas unity government announcement. Then, as now, the Palestinians (and those of us that care in the world) must keep the goal of 1S1P1V and justice for Palestinians in the forefront of our minds.

        The Joint List shows and proves a way forward, it eschews stagnation and the status quo, and provides a model of inclusion for the dispossessed, the disadvantaged, and those of varied ethnicities. That’s BIG. Being committed to the disestablishment of another entirely loony and murderous right government is BIG. Being the Opposition Leader is BIG. I won’t go on and on, but I think their success has already shocked many, many folks. ;-)

      • Walid on March 22, 2015, 8:54 am

        “Is that a rhetorical question, Walid? ”

        A bit of the rhetorical, just, and a bit of a statement. I would greatly wish it to be otherwise, but I’ve had too many deceptions with Israelis and don’t believe anything good would ever come out of them voluntarily. I’m against normalization, so that makes me against anything that flows from from it.

      • Hostage on March 22, 2015, 3:55 pm

        Just, what is the power that will actually be in the hands of these 13 members and what was allowed Hanin Zoabi to accomplish in the Knesset other than getting the Zionist creeps all riled up?

        If you hadn’t rained on the victory parade here, I would have had to do it too. After reading this, I’m interested to see if there is an English translation of the party platform.

        I’m uncomfortable with the portrayal here that there is a double standard that applies to these Palestinian politicians that allows them to focus only on Israel and their own civil rights, while forgetting about broader issues that impact their less fortunate brethren who live under much more dire circumstances beyond either the armistice lines or the borders of neighboring states. I wonder if they would approve of Allison’s characterization:

        Foremost they realized as Palestinian citizens of Israel they all agree on one most basic principle: there should be equality under law and in practice between them and Israeli-Jews. Everything else, the peace process, the two state solution, polygamy could fall to the side. Their constituents see the internal resolutions and divisions as a new way forward, where diversity remains intact while pursuing equal rights with the power of Israel’s newly-minted third largest political party.

        I don’t have to imagine the uproar if someone had accused the officials of the PA or Hamas of looking out for their own self-interests. So why would it be alright in this instance? I’m certain that they still privately support all of the items on the 2005 BDS call for action. Hana Zoabi’s participation in the Gaza aid flotilla and the physical attacks upon her during speeches in the Knesset and in public appearances on the subject prove her solidarity beyond any doubt.

      • just on March 22, 2015, 4:16 pm

        I see what you mean, Hostage. I was doing a victory dance in the hopes of real change…

        “I’m certain that they still privately support all of the items on the 2005 BDS call for action. Hana Zoabi’s participation in the Gaza aid flotilla and the physical attacks upon her during speeches in the Knesset and in public appearances on the subject prove her solidarity beyond any doubt.”

        Without a doubt.

      • Hostage on March 23, 2015, 4:41 pm

        I was doing a victory dance in the hopes of real change…

        No, any real change like you envisioned would most probably result in the whole party list being disqualified and banned from participating. The relevant law says:

        A candidates list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the goals or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following>:

        (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;

        (2) incitement to racism;

        (3) support for armed struggle by a hostile state or a terrorist organization against the State of Israel.

        — Basic Law- The Knesset -1958 as amended (2003)

      • can of worms on March 24, 2015, 1:33 am

        @”what is the power that will actually be in the hands of these 13 members…?”

        A: Getting the Zionist creeps all riled up — well that’s at least one better than being a Herzogian “mosaic” for the Zionist creeps to admire and walk on. Even an animal “drove moving to the polls” acknowledges presence.

        But resistance isn’t ever inside govt — and as Pappe says, “the time has come to look for new forms of representation and action.”

  12. Les on March 21, 2015, 8:30 pm

    For a clear analysis of the Jewish candidates read this London Review piece by a Jewish supporter of the list, written on March 6th no less!

  13. just on March 21, 2015, 10:52 pm

    “A new Joint List MK on Saturday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to the Arab community for his controversial comments on Election Day, in which he warned Likud supporters that Israeli Arabs were voting “in their droves.”

    New Joint List MK Dr. Yousef Jabareen, an attorney and expert in minority rights, was speaking at the first post-election meeting of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which also blasted Netanyahu for his statement.

    Jabareen said Netanyahu’s statements constituted incitement toward Arab citizens, who were simply fulfilling their basic right to vote.

    “The prime minister presents the vote of citizens who suffer from discrimination as a source of fear and worry? In a normal country, a prime minister would encourage all citizens to get out and vote,” said Jabareen.

    ………..Meanwhile, a petition has been launched calling on Rivlin to refrain from appointing Netanyahu to form the new government. “As a person to whom the values of democracy and equality are dear, and for the sake of a state that respects all its citizens,” the petition states, Rivlin should not ask Netanyahu to form the government because “a black flag of incitement, separatism and hatred of the other flies over his election.””

    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 7:08 am

      “A new Joint List MK on Saturday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to the Arab community ”

      Of what good is an apology if you know in advance that Netanyahu wouldn’t be sincere? He’s not even sincere to the the partisans that he suckered with his initial statement since now that the elections are over, he’s already trying to talk himself away from it. Jabareen should spend his precious time covering his back and those of his list partners because surely Israelis wil be up to something to get them disqualified, just like their attempt at cutting off Zoabi. Was there any party that opposed what was being attempted on Zoabi? Now Jabareen is going to have to be working with some of them. Looks like the Magnificent 13 are also into showbusiness.

      • Kay24 on March 22, 2015, 9:48 am

        The world will never hear Chickenshityahu make any apology. Last year he got Palestinian women and children massacred by his ruthless troops, but we did not hear an apology. We also saw civilians being killed at UN shelters, yet did not hear a single word of remorse from this scoundrel. I don’t know if you noticed, but these zionists can kill, lie, and commit the biggest war crimes, and not show sign of being sorry, in fact they keep pounding their chests even more, and make more war sounds.

  14. a blah chick on March 21, 2015, 11:01 pm

    Meanwhile on yesterday’s show Bill Maher puts Mr N.’s statements into perspective.

    MAHER: We got off on a tangent. Let me ask the question I was going to ask about this, which is when he said that, ‘Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls,’ I heard a lot of commentators here say, it would be as if Mitt Romney in 2012 on the eve of the election said black voters are coming out in droves to the polls. But I don’t know if that’s really a great analogy. I think that would be a good analogy if America was a country that was surrounded by 12 or 13 completely black nations who had militarily attacked us many times, including as recently as last year. Would we let them vote? I don’t know. When we were attacked by the Japanese, we didn’t just not let them vote, we rounded them up and put them in camps.

    Way to go, you scumbag.

    • Kay24 on March 22, 2015, 12:30 am

      Abc, I was wondering how the zionist comedian would cover this, and it is no surprise.

      Isn’t it strange he FAILED to mention the military occupation that has gone on for decades, he FAILED to mention the illegal settlements that Israel keeps building in defiance of the entire world? How delusional can this idiotic man be? He seems totally ignorant of facts that led up to the massacre in Gaza, and massacre it was, of hundreds of women and children. He is simply regurgitating the hasbara about Israel being the victim. Perhaps if he had an iota of intelligence, he might ask himself WHY Israel is disliked so much. Even today the narrative is Netanyahu has stated he does not want a two state solution, but it seems Maher thinks it is the fault of others.
      Where is the criticism of Netanyahu? He is stealing lands and sending precision bombs into civilians homes, but that is justified in the most bizarre ways.

  15. Mayhem on March 22, 2015, 12:13 am

    So what happened to the Palestinian anti-normalization movement?

    • a blah chick on March 22, 2015, 7:35 am

      Hard to have normal relations with people who have their boot on your throat.

  16. Kay24 on March 22, 2015, 12:37 am

    Congratulations to all. It is heartening to see, for once, a group of leaders who represents those who have been ignored or deliberately not given a platform. This is quite a good number of Knesset members, considering the previous times. I hope they are able to help the minority in the nation, and give them a voice. It is long overdue.

    • Walid on March 22, 2015, 5:05 am

      Kay, I’m not sure it’s that heartening; these people could actually be an answer to Mayhem’s question above and with Zionists, others don’t get to win anything, ever. As far as I could see, the only truly heartening efforts at getting back their rights were shown by Hamas, eventhough I’m generally averse to religious groupies. All others fall under the categories of collaborators and “normalizers”.

      • Kay24 on March 22, 2015, 9:35 am

        I understand it is going to be hard to get your voice heard among the zionists, who are the majority, but the fact that these politicians were even voted in is one small step for the minority, who voted in larger numbers this time. They would at least be their voice when necessary, and bring attention to their needs too.

      • a blah chick on March 22, 2015, 6:46 pm

        Since no Arab parties have ever been in this position before we’re in unchartered waters. How much can they accomplished? I don’t know, but let’s see.

  17. just on March 22, 2015, 7:34 am

    “East Jerusalem Palestinian to become Israel’s deputy chief scientist

    Tareq Abu Hamed will become the East Jerusalem Palestinian with the most senior position in any government ministry.

    Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, a Palestinian chemical engineer from the village of Sur Bahir in East Jerusalem, has just won a tender for the position of deputy chief scientist at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space. Like most East Jerusalem residents he does not enjoy full Israeli citizenship but has the status of a temporary resident. Upon his appointment he will become the East Jerusalem Palestinian with the most senior position in any government ministry.

    …….He won the prestigious Dan David Prize for fostering social responsibility with an emphasis on the environment.

    ………Recently, Abu Hamed was interviewed by journalist Eliezer Ya’ari for his soon-to-be-released book “Beyond the Dark Mountains,” which is about Sur Bahir. “I’d like to say a few words about my schizophrenia,” Abu Hamed tells Yaari in the book. “The Arabs of East Jerusalem have several advantages. You can travel across the world with a Jordanian passport, with which you can enter Arab countries. You leave here with an Israeli travel document. These passports reflect the schizophrenic situation – we want and don’t want Israel at the same time.””


    “Palestinian students invent vest that helps the blind navigate without canes

    The vest directs the visually impaired with voice commands and vibration.

    “The students were able with their limited resources to design and execute this project. The project still needs more development with financial and moral support and needs to be embraced by institutions and potential youth sponsors,” Al Qawasmi added….”

    If only Palestinians were free, and their talents unleashed! Imagine…

    • bintbiba on March 22, 2015, 7:48 am

      Many thanks, ‘Just’ for this uplifting news.
      By dribs and drabs…. it may yet come to be .

      I’m no believer in miracles…… yet these amazing people, against all the odds……. still manage to overcome obstacles and make their way peacefully through the civilising pathway !

  18. pabelmont on March 22, 2015, 11:18 am

    Wow, what an election! And how very, very nice of Mr. BB to say the pleasant things he said just before the election and to get such a generous and supportive response from the ever-generous Israeli-Jewish electorate! USA’s Jews should take note! And we should help them do so!

    And the appropriate response? The list of action that USA and others should take gets, IMO, longer and longer. Of course, they should think hard about opposing Israeli imperialism — the now-and-future apartheid-1SS which appears determined to persist until outside pressure is strongly exerted. And the nations should think hard about taking Hamas off their lists of terrorist organizations. And they should recognize Palestine as a state-member of the UN — a state, although occupied throughout its existence by Brits, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan at various times since its founding in 1922-23 after the division of the Ottoman Empire.

    Just what should an appropriate way be to oppose Israeli imperialism? As ever, IMO that way should be the active enforcement, by sanctions, of a requirement that Israel either end the occupation unilaterally by withdrawal of forces, etc., or an end to its settlement project by withdrawal of all settlers (and particularly and first from Hebron and East Jerusalem), removal of the wall, and removal of the settlement buildings (by demolition, following the pattern set by Israeli demolition of Palestinian villages in 1948). The USA and UNSC etc could agree, it seems to me, more easily on enforcement of international law than on any other multilateral intervention such as an imposed “peace”. Far better to let Israel and Palestine choose their own fates in negotiations fueled by sanctions forcing Israeli withdrawal from the OPTs than for a bunch of other nations to decide on “peace” . Look how badly that worked in 1947.

  19. jon s on March 23, 2015, 2:55 am

    As you can imagine, I’ve been in something of a funk, after Netanyahu’s stunning victory. I think that what he did in the last 5 days of the campaign will be studied in political science courses in the future: “Bibi’s Blitz”. He went all out: incitement, racism, fear- mongering, hate-mongering, blatant lies, you name it. And it worked!

    Not that the Center-Left didn’t make mistakes, such as the statements by left-wing intellectuals Yair Garboz and Yehoshua Sobol characterizing “mezuzah-kissers” as “stupid”. Insensitive, patronizing, dumb and disastrous.

    Mainly Netanyahu won by cannibalizing the rest of the Right:
    The Likud won 30 seats. In the last election Likud ran together with Yisrael Beteinu (Lieberman) and won 31. (18 Likud, 13 YB).
    Habayit Hayahudi (Bennett) won 8, down from 12.
    YB, running on it’s own, won 6 seats, a loss of 7.
    Shas won 7 , down from from 11.
    Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox) won 6, down from 7.
    So Likud ate up the rest of the Right. All the Right and religious parties, aside from the Likud, lost seats, significantly.
    In the Center-Right Yesh Atid (Lapid ) couldn’t repeat it’s 2013 achievement. They won 11 seats , down from 19.
    Instead we have a new Center-Right party led by Kahlon, which won 10 seats.
    In the Center Left, we had the Zionist Union , led by Herzog and Livni. In the last election , Labor won 15, and Livni’s party 6. This time they won 24, a gain of 3.
    On the Left:
    Meretz won 5, a drop of 1.
    The Joint List, the union of the mostly Arab parties, won 13 seats. In the previous elections the four components of the Joint List won altogether 11 seats, so that’s a gain of 2.
    Of course these elections will have far-reaching implications on the country, both domestically and internationally. We’re probably going to have an undiluted, hard-right, government, driving us right off the cliff… the price will be high.
    On the Left , we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and prepare for future struggles. We may need new strategies .

    • echinococcus on March 24, 2015, 4:02 am

      “Left”? What left? It’s all Zionist with the single exception of the Joint List.
      The only strategy that it can ever develop is that of competing with the most extreme Zionists in driving even harder for land theft and genocidal measures (after all, they are competing for the same voters), while being seemingly more conciliating towards the Weitz quota Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. This loss was the best news in these last years, as a government of the “Left” murderers could have put to sleep international pressure, intensifying the genocidal measures more easily than the Yahoo.

  20. Wandering Arab on March 24, 2015, 4:31 am

    This article correctly points out that the Joint List represents various sectors of the Israeli Arab community (as well as some Israeli Jews), and mentions the religious or communal affiliation of certain specific members. As it happens, however, there are two (not one) Christians on the list who have won Knesset seats. They are Aida Touma-Sliman and Bassel Ghattas.

  21. Curatica on March 24, 2015, 8:01 am

    Let us hope that they will forget about their parties and will remember that they represent a persecuted ethnic group in Israel proper and elsewhere.

  22. John D on April 1, 2015, 10:22 pm

    This is an excellent riposte to the attempted apartheid division of Palestine.
    At last all the parties and the politicians have realised the truth of the maxim “unity is strength”.
    This should be only the start – impressive though it is – in changing the political reality.
    Even higher turnouts in future will increase the numbers of elected representatives.
    I have seen Dr Zahalka in London and found his explanations highly rational and persuasive.
    People previously on the left in occupied Palestine can now gather round this new grouping.
    The zionists look highly likely to be hoist by their own petard – and a very good job of it too!

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