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MK Abu Shehadeh to request Knesset dissolution this week

Sami Abu Shehadeh, a member of the Knesset on February 20, 2021, in the in the northern city of Nazareth [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]
Sami Abu Shehadeh, a member of the Knesset on 20 February 2021 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]

Joint List MK Sami Abu Shehadeh announced on Friday that he would request the start of the process of dissolving the Israeli Knesset on Wednesday, Israeli media reported.

"I will submit the Knesset Dispersal Law [for a vote] next Wednesday," he announced via Twitter. "This bad government must fall," he declared.

This came following the resignation of Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi from the coalition, leaving it with just 59 MKs.

On Thursday, Zoabi shared that she still hadn't decided how to vote if Abu Shehadeh presents the bill.

To prevent the dissolution and going to the fifth elections in less than three years, Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid's office has been in intensive negotiations with Ahmad Tibi, who heads the two-MK Ta'al faction within the Joint List, Kan public broadcaster reported.

Director of the alternate prime minister's office, Na'ama Shultz, has been consulting with representatives from the Transportation and Finance ministries on transportation infrastructure in neglected Arab areas.

Tibi has asked for NIS 200 million ($60 million) to finance the infrastructure projects, Kan reported, but Tibi's office denied that this was discussed during the meetings.

A statement issued by Tibi's office said that he had raised the demand for such infrastructure projects to the Knesset Finance Committee and had also submitted a request to the Transportation Ministry "a long time ago".

READ: Head of Joint List resigns over members' secret talks with coalition

The statement insisted that the demand had nothing to do with the latest coalition crisis that began on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's Yamina party denied any cooperation or plans for cooperation with the Joint List.

"The government will not rely on the Joint List in any constellation, and there are no agreements with them," the party confirmed.

"The State of Israel cares for all Israeli citizens," Yamina asserted, claiming that Likud and Religious Zionism opposition parties have tried to present the building of any school or community centre in an Arab town as a "surrender agreement to the Arabs".

Haaretz reported that contact between Zoabi and the coalition will now primarily go through Ra'am chairman Mansour Abbas.

Abbas met with Zoabi on Friday and told Channel 13 afterwards that Zoabi: "Was elected to represent Arab society. She has done so and will continue to do so. She has a great responsibility, and I trust her."

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