Reconciliation Committee Fails to Revive Arab Parties' Joint List Ahead of Israeli Election

Negotiation efforts ended over disagreement between Balad and Hadash over 12th spot in slate ■ Final deadline to submit slates to Central Election Committee looms near

Arab MKs Mansour Abbas from United Arab List, Ahmed Tibi from Ta'al and Ayman Odeh from Hadash, Jerusalem, April 2019.
Emil Salman

The reconciliation committee working on behalf of Arab parties Hadash, Ta’al, Balad and the United Arab List with the aim of forming a joint list announced Thursday that it was unable to reach an agreement.

At a press conference in Nazareth, committee chairman Mohammad Ali Taha said that ego vanquished the hope for unity, and that instead of focusing on serious matters, the discussion was centered around how to divide Knesset seats between the four parties.

The committee confirmed reports in Haaretz that failure to recompose the Joint List was because of disagreement over the 12th seat on the slate. The seat was given by the reconciliation committee to Hadash, but was demanded by Balad, who had to make do with the 13th seat instead. The committee members said that if the dispute over the 12th spot had been resolved, other issues could likely have been resolved as well.

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In 2015, the four parties merged and ran together as the Joint List, winning 13 Knesset seats. In April, the four parties ran in pairs of two – Hadash-Ta’al and Balad-United Arab List – and together received only 10 seats, a result largely attributed to low voter turnout due to discontent with the party’s splitting.

Officials in Balad rejected criticism by the reconciliation committee, and said that the committee had made a strategic mistake in publicizing its decision on the slate. Officials added that they believe an agreement not involving the committee could still be reached.

Sources in Balad told Haaretz that the secretariat insists that there will be no compromise regarding the 12th seat and that if Hadash doesn’t back down, the party will consider running alone or not running at all.

The deadline for factions to submit their slates to the Central Elections Committee is August 1. The four parties said they will continue in their efforts to revive the Joint List, but are also preparing for a scenario in which parties will run in pairs or separately.