The Tragedy of Israeli Arab Politics

One of the factors that pushed the erstwhile Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz into coalition talks with his rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, was his realization that some members of his own party would defect if he were to form a coalition with the alliance of Arab parties known as the Joint List. Thus, despite having won fifteen Knesset seats in the most recent election—thanks to high voter turnout and its effective consolidation into a single bloc—the Joint List has thus missed an opportunity for an unprecedented role in the government. And the fault is solely its own, writes Jonathan Tobin:

The Joint List is a coalition of advocates for a Communist state, an Islamist state, a Palestinian nationalist state and a pan-Arab state, and has no place in any government of a state that they wish to destroy.

If Israeli Arabs want to be fully integrated into Israeli society and have their voices not merely heard but heeded, then they need to have political representatives that advocate for that cause. Instead, they have chosen people whose goal isn’t an Israel that is a better place for its Arab minority; instead, they have representatives that want to deny the Jewish majority their right to self-determination in a Jewish state.

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have settled for being led by groups like Fatah and Hamas, who are only interested in keeping them at war with Zionism, rather than in creating an independent Palestinian state. The same can be said for Israeli Arabs who vote for confrontation with Zionism by electing the Joint Arab List as opposed to a party that would be dedicated to their well-being and interests. Unfortunately, there is no such party competing for Arab votes.

Seen in that light, the failure of the Joint Arab List is not in their being denied a place in Israel’s government, as critics claim. It’s that it has become the greatest obstacle to mutual coexistence for Jews and Arabs. That isn’t evidence of Israeli racism, but it is a tragedy.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli Election 2020, Israeli politics, Joint List


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security