Arab parties: We'll establish an alternative Arab parliament
Warning comes days after Israel's elections committee bans Arab parties from participating in upcoming elections.
Israeli Arab political party Balad, recently banned from the upcoming general elections by Israel's Central Elections Committee, warned Wednesday that if the Supreme Court upholds the committee's decision, the party would call for a boycott of the elections and establish an alternative Arab parliament.
Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka told Haaretz on Wednesday that if the court upholds the ban, "our call for the establishment of an Arab parliament will gain immense momentum. If we can't be elected to parliament, we'll establish one of our own."
Balad, like the northern chapter of Islamic Movement, have been seeking elections for the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Israel for some time now, thus essentially establishing an independent parliament.
The CEC voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motions to ban the Arab parties Monday, accusing the Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist.
Another Israeli Arab party, Hadash, opposes this move, calling it separatist, and maintaining that Jews and Arabs need to combine their efforts in political endeavors in the state of Israel.
Zahalka devoted the morning to a long meeting at the offices of the Arab rights legal center Adalah, which is preparing the court petitions seeking to overturn the committee's ban on Arab parties from participating in the elections. Adalah fears that the justices who receive the petitions will be influenced by the current warfare in Gaza, and prejudiced against the Arab plight.
Zahalka went on to say that "the banning of the Arab parties will give rise to a serious crisis in the relations between the state and its Arab citizens. All the parties voted for the ban, but parties that wish to rule the country must understand that this is not in their best interest. They are waiting for the court to rescue them."
Hadash, which defines itself as a "Jewish-Arab" party, has called on the Arab public not to comply with calls to boycott the elections, even if the ban on Arab parties is upheld by the courts.
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