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Party Chairman Jamal Zahalka Photo: Hagai Aharon
Party Chairman Jamal Zahalka Photo: Hagai Aharon
 
 

Balad

Yneynews
Published: 02.04.08, 07:55 / Israel News

Chairman: Jamal Zahalka

 

Balad, the National Democratic Assembly, is an Arab nationalist party which was formed in 1995, as means to create political awareness within the Arab sector in Israel. The party's inception followed 1993's Oslo Accords, which it declared "a grave mistake".

 

The party inspires to have Israel turn from a Jewish State to a democratic one, calling for the complete separation of religion and State. Originally headed by Dr. Azmi Bishara, the party won its first electoral seat in 1996 general elections, when it joined forces with another Arab party – Hadash.

 

In 1999 Balad won two Knesset seats, and in 2003 – three. In 2006's general elections, the party retained its power, winning three Knesset seats once more.

 

In 2007, Bishara was forced to resign his post as Balad chair after being suspected of money laundering and aiding and abetting the enemy during the 2006's Second Lebanon War. MK Jamal Zahalka was elected chairman in his place, while Said Naffa was named the party's new Knesset Member.

 

Main platform:

  • Balad is a patriotic, democratic Palestinian party, obligated to the principles of social justice and human rights. The party's goal is to fuse Israel's national identity and democratic principles with the needs of a growing, developing society.

 

  • The party wishes to reach a just, fair solution to the Palestinian questions, which will include their historical rights; thus calling for the implementation of all international decisions in regards to Palestinian rights; and will push for the enactment of a new Basic Law assuring the Arab minority's equal rights. Balad will push for the preservation of Arab society within Israel and for its organization on patriotic, democratic frameworks and will work for the modernization of Arab society in all levels.

 

  • The party objects to any form of fanaticism, religious or otherwise, and will push for the freedom of speech, the right for self-determination, social justice, equality of the sexes and Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. The party will fight all forms of discrimination against Arabs, on all levels.

 

  • The party will fight for Israeli recognition of the Palestinian people as an equal-rights minority and will fight any anti-Palestinian policies; and for the Palestinians' right to autonomous rule over themselves; the party will push for forming of independent universities, radio and television stations, free of the Israeli establishment; for Arab education and for the developing of Arab culture in Israel; and for the financial rehabilitation of the Arab sector.

 

  • Balad will continue to be a part of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee as part of its efforts to ensure the sector's fair representation in all political levels and will push for it to represent larger parts of the Arab sector.

 

  • The party will demand all Arab land confiscation be cease immediately, as well as the return of lands taken from their owners. 

 

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