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Lawmaker Ahmad Tibi: Netanyahu Killed the Two-state Solution, We're Moving Toward One State

The co-leader of the Arab-majority Hadash-Ta'al slate talks to Haaretz about the Arab vote in the election, where he sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict heading and Trump's peace plan

Ahmad Tibi, a member of Knesset and the co-leader of the Hadash-Ta'al slate, told Haaretz in an interview that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "killed the two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explaining that this is why many on both sides are beginning to think about a one-state solution, although his political party still supports the two-state solution.

Trump's peace plan and the Arab vote in the Israeli election: A talk with lawmaker Ahmad TibiHaaretz

A survey recently published by Haaretz found that 42 percent of Israelis polled support some form of annexation of the West Bank. The poll showed that even proponents of the two-state solution who said they will vote for Zionist center-left parties such as Labor, Meretz and Benny Gantz’s newly established Kahol Lavan, don’t rule out at least partial annexation of the West Bank to Israel. The results also showed that 20 percent of non-Jewish respondents, most of them Arab citizens of Israel, support annexation if their Palestinian neighbors are granted political rights.

Tibi also spoke of U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan, expected to be released after Israel's April 9 election. The so-called "deal of the century," Tibi says, "is something like recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan [Heights]. It appears he wants to close the file on a permanent solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] by means of executive orders."

As for the challenge the Arab parties face in the election, mostly due to the expected low turnout after the Joint List, an alliance of all Arab-majority parties in the Knesset, split into two slates, Tibi said that "there is a need to convince people that reluctance to vote is not the solution… they can be angry for 364 days a year but there is one day in which it is crucial to take advantage of this democratic right to vote and that is Election Day."

Israelis' position on a possible annexation of the West Bank to Israel.

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Tibi also explained why the Arab parties have traditionally refrained from joining a governing coalition, despite growing support among the Israeli Arab parties to do so.

"People are saying 'enter the government' or 'join the coalition'… because the regular citizen wants more influence on decision-making." Tibi noted that "there's a fundamental problem, it's called collective responsibility. If we enter a government, we are responsible for the decisions it makes," one of those, he gives as an example, could be a decision to bomb Gaza.