UAL Wants President Who Will Free Arab Prisoners

The United Arab List (Ra'am-Ta'al) will support whichever presidential candidate agrees to release Arab Israeli security prisoners, the party said yesterday.

It will also ask the three candidates whether they would be willing to address the Palestinian parliament before deciding for whom to vote, said faction chairman MK Ibrahim Sarsur.

"The Israeli security prisoners have been rotting in prison for years," he said, referring to Israeli Arabs imprisoned for security offenses. "We demand that a large number of them be pardoned. Israel vehemently refuses to include them in prisoner exchanges."

"We also expect the president to support any prisoner exchange, especially the release of Palestinian parliamentarians," Sarsur added.

The Ra'am-Ta'al faction will meet the candidates for president by the end of the week and then decide for whom to vote.

Sarsur said the chosen candidate must have a very clear position in favor of the peace process and a two-state solution. "We expect him to make a breakthrough move - for example, a speech in the Palestinian parliament," he said.

However, at least three Arab MKs may vote for the right's candidate, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), including two from Sarsur's own faction - MKs Ahmad Tibi and Talab El-Sana.

The Arab factions have a total of 10 Knesset seats, divided among Ra'am-Ta'al (4), Hadash (3) and Balad (3).