Jenin governor calls for former PA officials to return stolen money

Akram Al-Rajoub, the governor of the West Bank city of Jenin 

Akram Al-Rajoub, the governor of the West Bank city of Jenin, called on Friday for former Palestinian Authority (PA) ministers and officials to return the money they had stolen while in office, Safa Press Agency reported.

On his Facebook page, Al-Rajoub declared that there had been ordered by President Mahmoud Abbas for the return of the funds, which has since been ignored.

“If you do not return the money,” he warned, “we will prosecute and uncover you… It is better for you to return the money.”

Al-Rajoub stressed that the PA had avoided commenting on this issue in the public sphere, in order not to “expose you”.

READ: PA security confiscate documents from anti-corruption officer in Hebron

On 19 August, President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the former prime minister and members of his 17th government to return the money they had illegally obtained, during their time in office.

It is worth noting that Finance Minister, Shukro Bshara, had returned a sum of $81,600 to the PA treasury.

Prior to Abbas’s order, mass media leaked a decision by the former government to raise the salaries of its members, from $3,000 to $5,000, and the salary of its prime minister from $4,000 to $6,000, in light of the announcement of the current government in an austerity plan.

The former prime minister, Rami Hamadallah, confirmed the reports by explaining that the decision was taken with the awareness of Abbas.

More Palestinians seek Abbas’ resignation.

Read more:


(Source / 14.09.2019) 

Israel hinders renovation of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Muslim women shout slogans as Jews, under Israeli police protection, raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on June 02, 2019. ( Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency )

Muslim women shout slogans as Jews, under Israeli police protection, raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 2 June, 2019 

On Thursday, Israeli occupation authorities attempted to prevent staff of the Al-Aqsa Construction Committee from carrying out renovation of Al-Silsila Gate of Al-Aqsa reported on Friday.

The construction staff planned to repair cracks in the walls of the gate, and add supporting struts to protect the wall, preventing it from collapsing.

Director of Islamic Endowment, Sheikh Abdul-Azim Salhab, stated that the committee insisted on carrying out the renovation, and finally succeeded on Friday.

He warned that the Israeli occupation is working hastily to Judaise Al-Aqsa Mosque, noting that the daily settler and MKs raids are part of the Judaisation plan, in addition to hindering the renovation works.

Judaisation of Jerusalem - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Researcher in Jerusalem’s affairs, Mustafa Abu-Sewwi, affirmed that the Israeli occupation authorities are working hard to reinforce their occupation of the holy site.

READ: Israel arrests head of Al-Aqsa’s construction department

Abu-Sewwi warned that the Israeli right-wing exploits the raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the Palestinian worshipers inside it, for electoral purposes.

“This is not a new policy” he explained, stating that generally, the Jerusalemites are able to undermine their plans. He noted that there are settlement projects around Al-Aqsa Mosque aiming to Judaise it, and insisted that the Jerusalemites need urgent and significant support from Arab and Muslim states.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 

PCHR Report : On 74th Friday of Great March of Return, 75 Civilians Injured, 35 With Live Ammunition

14 SEP 2:28 AM

On 74th Friday of Great March of Return, 75 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 34 children, 1 woman and 1 journalist, were among those injured this Friday, 13 September 2019.

Israeli forces continued to exercise excessive force against Palestinians using live ammunition and targeting protestors’ upper body; PCHR recorded 35 injuries with live bullets this week, 2 deemed extremely critical.

Israel’s military has been put on high alert along the Gaza border as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened to launch a military operation against the Gaza Strip at any time.

According to Israeli reports, Israeli military reinforced its presence along the Gaza borders, along with the use of the ‘Iron Dome Missile Defence’ in several nearby cities and villages.

The Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege called for today’s protests, which coincided with the 26th anniversary of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), under the slogan “Erase the Oslo Accords from Our History.” The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances.

Thousands of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip. The protestors threw stones, Molotov Cocktails and firecrackers at the Israeli forces, while the latter, well-shielded hundreds of meters away, responded with excessive force. As a result, dozens of civilians sustained bullet injuries while others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.

PCHR has documented 211 killings by Israel since the outbreak of the protests on 30 March 2018, including 46 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics and 2 journalists. Additionally, 13,854 were wounded, including 2,959 children, 423 women, 233 paramedics and 214 journalists, noting that many of those injured had sustained multiple injuries on separate occasions.

The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:

Northern Gaza Strip:

Approximately 1,000 civilians participated in Abu Safiyah area protests, northeast of Jabalia. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Dozens of protestors approached the border fence and threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. As a result, 15 civilians injured, including 5 children: 6 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 3 were hit with tear gas canisters; and 6 were shot with rubber bullets. Ahmed Mahmoud Abdul Men’em Manoun, 21, sustained serious live bullet wounds in his left leg with damage to bones, veins and tendons.

Gaza City:

Hundreds of protestors took part in eastern Malakah area. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Dozens of protestors approached the fence and threw stones with slingshots at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 11 civilians injured, including 5 children: 5 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 4 were shot with rubber bullets and 2 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.

Central Gaza Strip:

At approximately 15:00, hundreds of civilians, including women and children, took part in the eastern Bureij refugee camp protests; dozens gathered adjacent to the border fence at a range varying between 3 – 300 meters. The Israeli soldiers launched a drone to photograph protestors who had set tires on fire and thrown stones and sound bombs near the borders; also, they shot them with live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, 28 civilians were injured, including 14 children and 1 journalist: 13 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 9 with rubber bullets and 6 with tear gas canisters. The wounded freelance journalist, Zakaria Rawhi Bkair, 24, from al-Maghazi, was hit with a rubber bullet to the left hand.

Khan Younis:

Hundreds of Palestinians participated in Khuza’ah protests. Some approached the border fence, set tires on fire, attempted to throw stones and firecrackers and raised Palestinian flags in addition to chanting national songs. Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protesters, wounding 5 civilians, including 2 children and 1 woman and they were transferred to local hospitals: 1 was hit with shrapnel; 2 were shot with rubber bullets and 2 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Moreover, 13 civilians, sustained minor wounds after being hit with tear gas canister and rubber bullets and they received medical treatment on the spot. The wounded woman, Sabreen Ismail Ibrahim al-Najjar, 42, sustained minor wounds after being hit with a rubber bullet to the head. Sabreen was also previously injured on 16 August 2019.


Hundreds participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore songs and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones at the shielded Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters in addition to pumping wastewater at the protestors. As a result, 16 civilians injured, including 8 children; one child deemed in extremely critical condition: 10 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel and 6 were shot with rubber bullets. Ahmed Naji Sa’ed Abu Qamar, 17, sustained serious wounds after being shot with a live bullet in the head.

(Source / 14.09.2019)   

Army Injures Many Palestinians, Including Children, In Jerusalem

14 SEP 12:16 AM

Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, dozens of Palestinians, among them children, including a girl with special needs, in the al-‘Isawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Media sources said the soldiers invaded the town and fired gas bombs at many homes, and streets, without any provocation, causing dozens of Palestinians, including children, to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

One of the wounded children is a little girl with special needs, who passed out for around three minutes while in her room after suffering the severe effects of teargas inhalation, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported.

The town has been subject to daily invasions, including breaking into homes and the abductions of dozens of youngsters, in addition to the dozens of injuries caused by the soldiers.

On Thursday evening, the soldiers attacked a mosque in al-‘Isawiya, and fired gas bombs, causing at least three Palestinians to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 


California (QNN)- A group of over 200 California academics sent a letter to Israeli Justice and Higher Education ministers, condemning Israeli invasion of the house of professor Widan Barghouthi and her detention two weeks ago.

Journalism Professor Barghouthi was put under administrative detention without any charges. Two journalism students were also detained with her.

The letter called for the immediate release of Professor Widad Barghouti and “an end to the unjust practices of harassment and administrative detention that are aimed at denying Palestinians their right to education.”

“Educators and intellectuals should be free to express their views and pursue their profession without obstruction or harassment. We call for an end to this continued suppression of Palestinian society.”

Barghouthi and her both sons were detained for praising Palestinian martyrs in poems published on social media, according to Addamir human right organization.

Widan Al Barghouthi is Jornalism professor at Birzeit University and novelist and poet.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 

Scholars for dollars sell out Palestine and its people

Past and present, the Palestinians have always shown that they are prepared to pay the ultimate price for justice

By Yvonne Ridley 

Instead of keep the issue of Palestine in the minds and hearts of Muslims, Muslims scholars keep silent or encourage normalising ties with Israeli occupation regardless to its oppression.

Palestine polarises people, of that there is no doubt. Those condemning Palestinians usually do so out of their blind loyalty to the concept of the Zionist State. With today’s backdrop of real and alleged anti-Semitism, and the ever pervasive shadow of the Holocaust, it is easy to see why anyone might go along with the black and white narrative that Israel is a force for good, and Palestine is bad.

However, the cold, hard facts present a somewhat different story: Israel was founded on land stolen from the Palestinians after the indigenous people had been driven from their homes at gunpoint, and anyone who resisted the Zionist militias paid with their lives. The Zionist movement’s quest for a “Jewish state” had been boosted by the British government’s 1917 Balfour Declaration in which a man who had neither the moral nor legal right to do so, glibly promised land in Palestine for a “national home for the Jewish people”.

Such facts cannot be refuted, regardless of some of the insane mutterings of Israeli leaders and their supporters. Former Prime Minister Golda Meir, for example, declared infamously in 1969 that the Palestinians “did not exist”. The UN, of course, established its Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in 1949 specifically for the Palestinians. There are now 5.5 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA; they really do exist.

After the 1967 Six Day War, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242, which called on Israel to withdraw from the land it had taken during the fighting, essentially the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights. Israel ignored the resolution, and thus began the military occupation of those territories that is in place to this day. Resolution 242 is one of around 200 which Israel has ignored since its creation on Palestinian land in 1948. In all that time, the people of Palestine have faced a genocidal onslaught against their land, culture and identity. Israel heads the global league table of regimes which take no notice of, or have broken quite deliberately, international laws and conventions.

Just this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brazenly announced plans to annexparts of the occupied West Bank if he wins next week’s General Election. A promise to impose Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea will, he hopes, be a vote winner, despite it being a breach of international law. He added that he would also look to apply sovereignty over all of Israel’s illegal settlements in the rest of the occupied West Bank as well as “other areas of importance to our heritage.”

Given such aggressive rhetoric and destructive Israeli policies since 1948, is it any wonder that Palestinians have used their legitimate right to resist the occupation in many different ways, all of them justified by international law? Over the decades, such resistance has been more or less backed by the Arab states, but that is no longer the case. Regimes like those in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt would rather extend the hand of friendship to Israel, and are increasingly open about this.

You would think that such “normalisation” of relations with the occupying state of Israel would be condemned by the most learned Islamic scholars, but those who enjoy the patronage of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo are silent. It seems as if these “scholars for dollars”, who are supposed to interpret Islam’s doctrines and laws without fear or favour, have sold out their spiritual and intellectual obligations to the detriment of the land of Palestine and its people. Have such scholars forgotten that Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam; the scene of Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous ascension to the heavens; and the Muslims’ first Qiblah, towards which they turned when praying before it was switched by Revelation to the Kaaba in Makkah?

I was reminded of such scholars’ hollow words when watching an interview on France 24 which was circulated on social networks. US-born Sheikh Hamza Yusuf was attending the Forum for Promoting Peace in Islamic Societies in Abu Dhabi. The UAE often hosts Sheikh Hamza, where he is said to be much favoured by the ruling family. In this interview about Palestine, he gives not one word of comfort or sympathy to the Palestinians.

“If Palestinians leave violence,” said the scholar, “and instead said, ‘We are weak and helpless, help us,’ by God, much of the world will sympathise with them. But when they strike with petty weapons against powerful weapons, it destroys everything. Then people will think Palestinians initiated the assault. This is the world’s perception now.”

I watched this interview several times and there was not one crumb of comfort or support for a people who have been dispossessed and displaced, and faced all kinds of oppression, for more than 70 years. Even if it was in the Palestinians’ nature to say “we are weak and helpless” does Sheikh Hamza really think that they would have survived all this time while demanding with great resolution their legitimate right to return to their land?

Without being critical of them in any way, I would call the Rohingya weak and helpless, and look what has happened to them; more than 750,000 have been ethnically cleansed and live in desperate conditions in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Equally as weak and helpless are the people in Indian-occupied Kashmir who have been under a brutal lockdown imposed by the Indian military for more than a month now. The situation is still nowhere near being resolved by the United Nations. The world has not rushed to their aid simply because they are helpless and have right on their side.

So who or what motivated Sheikh Hamza in this interview? Granted, he admitted at the end that, “I cannot judge the Palestinians because I am not in their situation, perhaps the situation has driven some of them mad, it is a tough condition.” Sadly, his views are either endorsed or echoed by half a dozen other US-based scholars.

Political cowardice appears to be the defining feature of some learned Ulema and their institutions, which promote a theology of obedience rather than standing up for what is right and legitimate resistance. Enjoying the financial largesse of their patrons, they opt to ignore the thousands of political prisoners held in dungeons from Cairo through Riyadh to the UAE. Silenced by fear, apathy or greed — I’m not sure which — from East to West these scholars have long forgotten what binds Muslims together around the world.

Funded by some Arab rulers, these spiritual leaders are essentially neutralising the Muslim faithful. If Hamza Yusuf is right about the Palestinians being “driven mad” then little wonder. Could it be because someone so learned assesses their situation and basically tells them to go down on their knees to their oppressors led by a Prime Minister who told the world just a few days ago that he is determined to take the rest of their land?

Yes, it would be easier for all concerned if the Palestinians didn’t exist, or if they abandoned their legitimate rights and handed over control of their future to Israel and America. If the Palestinians had gone quietly, they would now be living in Argentina and Chile according to crackpot planssuggested by the Bush Administration. Condoleezza Rice, the then Secretary of State of George W Bush, wanted to send five million Palestinian refugees to South America rather than allow them to return to their former homes in what is now Israel and the occupied territories. The astonishing proposal was raised in a June 2008 meeting with US, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Berlin.

Moreover, if not for the heroic resistance of the Palestinians, no doubt the Gulf States would today be enjoying open trade and diplomatic relations with Israel. According to an article inMEMO last month, some are already ignoring trade boycotts and doing business under the table. The UAE, for example, has signed a deal to buy sophisticated spy planes from Israel. The deal, first mooted ten years ago, is said to be worth $3 billion and was brokered through Israeli businessman Mate Kochavi. The UAE has already received one of the aircraft.

Relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh have also thawed, judging from an interview by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman with The Atlantic Magazine in spring last year: “There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the [Gulf Cooperation Council].” This is quite a departure for the Kingdom. Back in 1947, the government of Saudi Arabia was among the first to oppose the creation of the state of Israel, voting against the UN Partition Plan. As the Custodians of the two Holy Mosques (in Makkah and Madinah), the Saudi Kings have always positioned themselves as the leaders of the Muslim world and supporters of the Palestinian cause.

However, under the latest regime in Riyadh, there are well documented reports indicating extensive behind-the-scenes diplomatic and intelligence cooperation with the Zionist State. During the Warsaw Mideast Summit in February, Netanyahu’s office deliberately leaked a video of a closed session in which the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates spoke out in defence of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. One of them said that confronting Iran is more pressing than solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

These are the same men who demand complete obedience around the Muslim world and use Islamic scholars at home and abroad to enforce this. Their “scholars for dollars” and their organisations are being paid to stifle discussion among the masses and prevent talk of political and institutional oppression.

It could be argued that those in the pay and sway of petrodollars are the ones who are really weak and helpless, and deserving of our pity. To their eternal credit, the Palestinians’ cause has become a global concern because of, not despite, their resilience and resistance over eight decades. Thanks to their refusal to become eternal victims, they are demanding the right to return to their ancestral homes from which they were expelled in 1948 when Zionist militias ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children and wiped more than 500 towns and villages off the map.

It took great courage to confront the oppressors then, and it takes great courage to stand up to the Israeli army snipers who fire at protesters taking part in the Great March of Return every Friday since March last year. Past and present, the Palestinians have always shown that they are prepared to pay the ultimate price for justice. That must be an alien concept for those “scholars for dollars” whose silence on such matters, apparently, can be bought so cheaply.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 

Israel arrested 120,000 Palestinians after Oslo Accords

Every detained Palestinian was subject to at least one form of torture

Israeli occupation has arrested 120,000 Palestinians since announcement of Oslo Accords between PLO and Israel in September 1993, Abdel-Nasser Ferwaneh, specialist in prisoners’ issues, revealed on Friday.

To absorb this large number of Palestinian prisoners, Ferwaneh explained, Israel built and opened several new prisons.

He noted that detention decreased between 1993 and 2000, but has sharply risen since 2000, when the second Intifada or ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada’ commenced.

Farwaneh, who is a former prisoner, stated that the Israeli detention included men, women, elderly and minors, confirming that about 2,000 women and more than 17,500 children have been detained since the Oslo Accords.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the Israeli occupation has arrested more than half of the Palestinian MPs, a number of ministers, hundreds of academics, NGOs and international organisations’ staff during this period.

The specialist announced that every detained Palestinian was subject to at least one form of torture, noting that torture and harsh treatment have recently increased.

He also stated that the Israeli Knesset had discussed and approved more than 20 laws targeting the Palestinian prisoners.

Since the Oslo Accords, he added, 107 Palestinian prisoners have died inside Israeli jails due to torture and intentional medical negligence – the most recent being Bassam Al-Sayeh, who passed away last week.

Further to this, Farwaneh confirmed that tens of Palestinian prisoners die after they are released, due to illnesses relating to their imprisonment.

Currently, there are approximately 5,700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 220 children, 38 females (women and girls), 700 patients and 500 under administrative detention.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 

Great Return March: 55 Palestinians Injured By IOF

At least 55 Palestinians were injured today by live bullets and many others by rubber-coated rounds as Israeli forces attacked thousands of protesters taking part in the weekly Great March of Return at Gaza border.

The Ministry of Health reported that The Israeli Forces shot  55 Palestinian non-violent protesters, twenty- nine (29 )were wounded with live ammunition,east of Gaza Strip in the 74 th Friday of the GMRBS.

Dozens of protesters sustained inhalation from teargas fired by the Israeli forces.

Some of the wounded were moved to hospital and many others were treated in the field hospitals.

Over 300 Palestinians have been killed and more than 30,000 injured by Israeli forces since the outbreak of the Great March of Return protests at Gaza border on March 30, 2018.

The weekly protests call for lifting the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and for the return of the Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes in pre-1948 Palestine.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 

IOF Wreaks Havoc On Agricultural Structure In Tulkarem

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Saturday stormed an agricultural structure at the main entrance to Zeita town in Tulkarem and wreaked havoc on its contents.

Local sources said that several Israeli soldiers stormed a prefabricated storehouse used for agricultural purposes and embarked on smashing its contents.

The IOF also threatened to remove the structure next Tuesday.

Zeita town, which is located near the Israeli separation wall in al-Sha’rawiya area of Tulkarem, is exposed, like many West Bank towns and villages, to frequent Israeli demolition campaigns.

(Source / 14.09.2019) 

Palestinians In Israel: Netanyahu’s Racism Makes Us Want To Vote

Leaders of Arab Joint List say prime minister’s incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel could backfire

Kholoud Zibidi says she will vote for the Arab Joint List in order to be represented in the Knesset [Arwa Ibrahim/ Al Jazeera]

Kholoud Zibidi says she will vote for the Arab Joint List in order to be represented in the Knesset

Jaffa, Occupied Palestine – Days ahead of a national parliamentary vote the streets of this Palestinian city, which was absorbed into the Tel Aviv municipality after 1948, were buzzing with election fervour.

Campaign posters for the Arab Joint List, an electoral alliance of four Palestinian parties, are visible across the ancient port city. The faces of the Joint List’s main candidates adorn street lamps and apartment buildings, while their slogan, “Our unity is our strength”, has been plastered across shop windows and balconies.

It is a far cry from six months ago, when the alliance of four parties – Hadash, Taal, Balad and the United Arab List – split into two competing blocs. Both ultimately fared poorly in April’s election, as voter turnout among Palestinian citizens of Israel fell to 49.2 percent, down from 68 percent in the previous vote.

But the Joint List has regrouped for the upcoming snap election and its leaders hope to push out Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, on September 17.



Leaders and supporters of the Joint List say Netanyahu’s policies and recent incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel could strengthen the alliance by encouraging more of the community to vote.

“Netanyahu’s language [against Palestinian citizens of Israel] is unacceptable. It makes us – Arab parties and our voters – want to bring Netanyahu down,” Ahmed al-Tibi, head of the Taal party, told Al Jazeera.

Using his own nickname, the prime minister has repeated the mantra – “Bibi or Tibi” – in an attempt to discredit Jewish Israeli parties to the left of Likud by alleging their need to work with Palestinian parties to form a governing coalition.

Over the past few weeks, Netanyahu has alleged significant voter fraud at the last election and claimed that Balad would not have passed the electoral threshold without fraud, but no fraud charges have been brought against a party or individual in relation to the vote.

He has also accused his rivals – including Palestinian parties – of trying to steal votes, his Facebook page sent out a warning that “Arabs want to destroy us”, and he ultimately tried and failed to pass a contentious bill to allow cameras inside polling stations.

Observers say the use of cameras at polling stations in the April vote was an attempt by Netanyahu to intimidate Palestinian citizens of Israel and lower the voter turnout in the community.

Aymen Odeh, head of the Hadash party and leader of the Joint List, denounced Netanyahu’s statements, calling for “an end to this racist and dangerous incitement … against the Arab population”, local media reported.

But instead of keeping them away from the ballot boxes, some Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially young people, say Netanyahu’s “incitement” and “racist language” have encouraged them to vote.

“When we find him speaking in a racist way about us, we’re more adamant to vote because we want to push against his tactics,” said Amin, a 21-year-old student. “Even if it doesn’t succeed, at least we make our voice heard.”

Sama, a medical student in Tel Aviv, feels similarly and says that the List’s reunification has boosted her motivation to vote.

“When cameras were set up at polling stations in April, I felt there wasn’t a point in voting. But this time, while many people still feel disillusioned, it makes me want to challenge Netanyahu and vote,” she told Al Jazeera.  

Still, some Arab voters feel disillusioned by the political process and may boycott the vote altogether.

“I’ve thought a lot about whether or not to vote,” said Michel al-Rahib, a 60-something bookshop and cafe owner.

“Honestly, I don’t think it [voting for the List] does anything for our community, but there’s no alternative,” he added.


Blocking right-wing government

Palestinian citizens of Israel – which include Muslims, Druze and Christians – make up 20 percent of the population and more than 900,000 of nearly 6 million eligible Israeli voters.

Because Palestinian citizens traditionally vote as a unified bloc for the Joint List, they could have a significant effect on the electoral outcome if they vote in large numbers.

“Israeli society is divided nearly down the middle, so we have a chance to get rid of Netanyahu this time,” Sami Abu Shahadah, who is running Balad’s slate, told Al Jazeera.

“If 65 percent of our constituency votes, we will prevent Netanyahu from building the next right-wing coalition,” he added.


According to the latest opinion polls, many Israelis are expected to vote for Netanyahu’s main challenger, Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, as well as other rival parties, including the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party and the left-wing Democratic Camp party.

This could leave Netanyahu without sufficient support from other right-wing parties to clear the 61-seat threshold needed for a majority in the 120-seat parliament. If he is not able to form a coalition government, the opportunity could then pass to Gantz.

“Now that we’ve regrouped, if we vote in large numbers, we can bring Netanyahu down by creating a blocking majority against him,” said al-Tibi.

Challenges to mobilise

Despite such high hopes, the Joint List admits it faces challenges to mobilise its base.

“Many of our voters are disillusioned or disengaged from politics, others may vote for rival parties, while some, such as residents of the Negev desert, lack the resources to even consider voting,” explained Abu Shahada.

According to the Joint List’s internal polling, 52-58 percent electorate of its constituencies are expected to vote.

“Even if Netanyahu’s incitement backfires, many Palestinian citizens won’t mobilise, especially when we tell them from the get-go that we want to remain in the opposition,” said Abu Shahada.

Israeli media reported a few weeks ago that the alliance’s leader, Odeh, would consider joining a coalition led by Gantz if certain conditions are met, but other leaders of the Joint List have denied such a possibility.

“The Arab Joint List will not be part of a government,” confirmed al-Tibi, explaining that the alliance refuses to join any government that could potentially bomb Gaza, a besieged enclave of 2 million Palestinians, or carry out house demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other moves.

Despite the uncertainty, like many Palestinian citizens of Israel, Kholoud Zibidi, a 40-year-old homemaker from Jaffa, will give her voice to the Joint List, no matter what.

“I will be voting for the Joint List no matter what. I want someone to represent me in the Knesset and to give us a voice.”

(Source / 14.09.2019)