18 | 10 | 2019

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the central city of Ramle on Tuesday, October 15, to demonstrate against violence in the country’s Arab-Palestinian communities, calling for greater police enforcement to clamp down on crime. Since the beginning of the year, 75 members of these communities have been murdered.

The protesters marched from the al-Omri Mosque to Ramle’s police station, holding aloft signs and chanting slogans against Israel’s law enforcement authorities and condemning what they say is the police’s inaction in addressing the spate of criminal violence within the Arab towns and villages in Israel. Joint List chair, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), told demonstrators that the community’s protest “will continue until quiet is returned to the streets and the crime organizations are defeated. If we don’t keep on counting arrests and demonstrations, we will have to keep on counting deaths and funerals.”

On July 23, B’Tselem first reported on the police harassment of residents of the Isawiyah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. The campaign, which began in June, included daily law enforcement and collective punishment raids, ostensibly in response to stone throwing. During one of the raids, 21-year-old neighborhood resident Muhammad ‘Abeid was killed. Although the harassment has abated somewhat since the beginning of the school year, it still continues at varying levels of intensity.

Thousands of Arab-Palestinians in Israel held protests on Friday, October 4, just a day after holding a general strike over the wave of deadly criminal violence unaddressed by police within the their communities.

The 13 members of the Knesset elected from the Joint List boycotted the inaugural swearing in of MKs to the 22nd Knesset held yesterday (Thursday, October 3) in Jerusalem. The lawmakers’ boycott came as part of Thursday’s general strike called for by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel’s. Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) said: “Dozens of people murdered since the beginning of this year are not just victims of violent crime; they are victims of the apathy of the government and law enforcement authorities.” “It is not acceptable that we continue burying our children while the rest of the MKs take celebratory photos in the plenum,” Odeh added. “We will join our constituents in demonstrations across the country.”

The Joint List sent a letter on Monday, September 30, to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit urging him to immediately open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the hospitalization in critical condition of a Palestinian activist after he was interrogated by Israel’s security services. According to Arabic language Communist newspaper Al-Ittihad the letter sent by the Joint List to the AG contends that “The conduct of the security system, including the Shin Bet, in this case involved crossing a red line and breaking the law… There must be a thorough examination of the circumstances in this case, and a conclusion must be reached. Measures must be taken to limit torture and to prosecute those involved.”

The Joint List recommended Kahol Lavan (Blue & White) leader Benny Gantz for prime minister on Sunday, September 22, seemingly paving the way for the centrist party to get the first crack at assembling a coalition.

This decision marks the first time since 1992 that Hadash and Arab parties — separately or together — have recommended that the President of Israel (who is the authority who must make the decision) assign the task of forming and heading up a government assigned to a mainstream Zionist politician. In 1992, Hadash and the Arab Democratic Party supported the premiership of Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin, who had campaigned on a platform calling for peace with the Palestinians, but did not join the coalition.

The Joint List is set to be the largest non-ruling bloc in parliament – and may possibly even lead the opposition – if a national unity government emerges from Tuesday’s election. The Joint List has presented its stronger showing on Tuesday’s rerun as a victory over what it described as an “unprecedented campaign of incitement against the Arab public” by PM Benjamin Netanyahu and right-wing parties.

A surge in turnout gave the Joint List 13 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, making it the third-largest grouping behind Netanyahu’s far-right Likud party, with 31 seats, and Benny Gantz’s centrist and neoliberal Kahol-Lavan (Blue & White), with 33 MKs. That would make the Joint List the largest opposition grouping in parliament if a unity government takes shape, a realistic possibility even though Gantz has rebuffed Netanyahu’s initial invitation.

According to the results of the general elections of September 17, the Joint List supported by the Communist Party of Israel received 10.62% of all valid ballots cast, giving it 13 seats in the 22nd Knesset, the same number it won four and a half years ago when it first ran for the 20th Knesset in March 2015, thereby making it once again the third largest bloc in Israel’s parliament.

With all the votes counted from last Tuesday’s (September 17) general election, the Joint List received 10.62% of all valid ballots cast, giving it 13 seats in the 22nd Knesset, the same number it won four and a half years ago when it first ran for the 20th Knesset in March 2015, thereby making it once again the third largest bloc in Israel’s parliament.

The 13 elected members of the Knesset from the Joint List are: Ayman Odeh (Hadash), Mtanes Shehadeh (Balad), Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al), Mansour Abbas (Ra’am), Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash), Walid Taha (Ra’am), Ofer Cassif (Hadash), Heba Yazbak (Balad), Osama Saadi (Ta’al), Yousef Jabareen (Hadash), Said al-Harumi (Ra’am), Jaber Asakala (Hadash) and Sami Abu Shehadeh (Balad).

The Joint List’s electoral platform in the recent campaign called for the banning of the sale of Israeli arms to regimes that are known to commit atrocities and otherwise abuse human rights.

In recent years, Israeli companies have sold weapon systems, arms and ammunition to four countries, among their other customers, that are particularly problematic: Myanmar, where the regime has ethnically cleansed its Rohingya Muslim minority; South Sudan, which is engaged in a bloody civil war; Cameroon, which has committed atrocities in separatist regions; and the Philippines, which has engaged in extrajudicial killings and heavy-handed tactics in its brutal crackdown on guerrilla fighters and social movements.

Kav LaOved (KLO – Workers Hotline) has disclosed that hundreds of persons from peripheral capitalist countries are brought to Israeli kibbutzim and other farming enterprises as “volunteers” for agricultural work and are paid 1/3 of the local minimum wage, or just under 10 shekels (about US$ 2.75) an hour. KLO exposed this situation and submitted a demand for clear and standardized regulations in this matter with both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Labor and Welfare. KLO’s submission was made jointly with The Hotline for Migrants and Refugees.

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