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Almost half of Israel-Arabs dissatisfied with Joint List

Image of Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]
Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]

Almost half of all Palestinian citizens of Israel are dissatisfied with the Joint List, with only 20 per cent supporting the movement’s leader Ayman Odeh.

According to a poll conducted by Migdam and Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth over the last three days, some 46 per cent of Palestinian citizens of Israel said they are “dissatisfied” with the Joint List’s performance since the last Israeli election in 2015.

The poll also found that 50 per cent of Palestinian citizens of Israel believe the Joint List “does not represent them or hardly represents them,” the Jerusalem Post reported, adding that only 20 per cent support the alliance’s leader Ayman Odeh.

Instead, 47 per cent of respondents said that Ahmed Tibi should lead the Joint List, despite the fact that he broke away from the alliance earlier this week, taking his Ta’al party with him. Tibi is expected to receive 43 per cent of the Palestinian citizens of Israel’s vote in the upcoming general election on 9 April, compared to only 38 per cent for the Joint List, which is now comprised of the three remaining Arab-dominated parties: Hadash, the United Arab List and the National Democratic Union (Balad).

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The results of the poll will likely be seen as a blow for the Joint List after an already-difficult week. Odeh was quick to criticise Tibi’s decision to break away from the alliance, having not been informed in advance and only learning of the latter’s move from the press. Responding on Twitter, Odeh wrote that: “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is the one who would like to see the Joint List break apart most, and the extreme Right would love to divide and rule the Arabs. I am proud to be a part of a political party that puts their ideologies before personal interests.”

Last weekend Haneen Zoabi – a prominent Arab-Israeli MK who represented the Balad party – announced that she would not run for re-election in April. Zoabi claimed she had been subjected to a coordinated campaign to push her out of politics, saying: “[I faced] character assassination, ongoing incitement, unceasing attempts to make me disappear, to silence me, to distort my opinions and even my image [in order to] to distance me from the political arena.”

Also last week, Hadash’s Dov Khenin – the Joint List’s only Jewish-Israeli MK – announced that he would not run for re-election, saying that he was leaving to invest his time in grassroots movements as opposed to Knesset politics.

Numbering 1.8 million and constituting just over 20 per cent of Israel’s population, Palestinian citizens of Israel represent an increasingly strong proportion of the Israeli electorate. In 2015, 82 per cent of these voters opted for the Joint List, giving the alliance 13 seats in the 120-seat Israeli Knesset.

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