Arab Israeli security prisoners call for political unity

Walid Daqa, sentenced to life in prison, says unified Arab list in 2015 elections is the only way to combat ‘racist Zionism’

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Illustrative photo of security prisoners in an Israeli prison (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of security prisoners in an Israeli prison (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Israeli Arab security prisoners called on Israel’s three Arab parties to unite Tuesday in order to fight the “racist Zionist project,” ahead of national elections scheduled for March 2015.

MK Ibrahim Sarsur (Ra’am-Ta’al) published an open letter penned on behalf of the prisoners by Walid Daqa, a native of Baqa Al-Gharbiyah serving life in prison for the 1984 kidnapping and murder of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

In the letter, Daqa argued that the Israeli parliament is a central arena of struggle for the collective rights of Palestinians in Israel, complementing “grassroots activity and widespread popular struggle.”

“From behind the walls of prison and oppression, we follow the news, and all believe that electoral unity is the best way to protect Arab representation in the Knesset and strengthen it.”

MK Ibrahim Sarsur (photo credit: Flash90)
MK Ibrahim Sarsur (photo credit: Flash90)

Israel’s Arab parties (Ra’am-Ta’al, Balad and Hadash) are mulling unification following the raising of the electoral threshhold from 2% to 3.25% as part of the Governance Law, a move which threatens to eliminate all three parties in the 2015 elections if they run individually. While Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad have all but agreed to run together, most Israeli political observers agree, Hadash — which defines itself as the only Jewish-Arab party in parliament — is still debating the matter, to be decided in early January.

“We understand the extent of differences between the Arab parties, but unity is reached between dissenters, with the goal of changing the energy of dissent from a destructive energy to a constructive and complementary one,” Daqa wrote.

“An Arab electoral unification can fortify the Arab presence in the Knesset and strengthen in it confronting Zionism in its right-wing, centrist and ‘left-wing’ versions. At the same time, we will have guaranteed national and societal pluralism,” he concluded.

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