The two Arab factions UAL and Ta'al, the latter headed by Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, have recently decided to join forces and merge ahead of the elections. At a press conference to mark the launching of the new list's election campaign, Tibi and Sarsur presented their candidates for the Knesset and spoke of the party's platform and ideological principles.
White House gang (Photo: Hagai Aharon)
Sarsur took the opportunity to address the issue of the publication of Muhammad cartoons in a Danish paper and the Muslim violence that ensued, and said that "there is a hidden hand that acts in a bid to bring the world to a civilizations' collision, which will not serve global coexistence."
"I speak of that gang in the White House that tries to force one society's culture on another's. This is a part of a campaign against Islam, a campaign aimed at enlisting support in the West for military action against Iran," Sarsur said.
'Olmert leading region into a dark tunnel'
The Arab leader also slammed the Israeli and American stance regarding the Palestinian Authority elections' outcome, and their refusal to recognize a Hamas-led government.
He lauded the Palestinian people for their "democracy fest," and said: "we are certain that Hamas will lead the Palestinian people to progress and achievements. The Palestinians elected Hamas so that it lead them to accomplishments, not catastrophes. We believe Olmert's approach is to lead the region into a dark tunnel."
The world must respect the Palestinians' choice, he added.
Referring to the upcoming parliamentary elections in Israel, Sarsur stressed that the party's objectives are to "preserve the Arab existence in the country and protect our holy places."
"The party's goal is also to struggle to preserve the religious and national identity of the Arab minority in Israel, in the face of Israelization and Zionization trends, as well as to fight for collective and individual rights and against the racist discrimination we are subjected to," he said.
The new united party will also target Arab immigration, and will work to strengthen the relation between Israeli-Arabs, the Palestinians in the territory, and the Arab world, Sarsur stated.
According to Sarsur, despite its participation in democratic elections, the party will not concede its Muslim principles: "we believe in Islam, we believe in the rule of the Caliphate and we do not support a separation between state and religion."
Tibi: Europe is Islamophobic
Ta'al head Ahmed Tibi, said the united list represents the wishes of the Arab voter.
“That’s the strongest Arab list according to signs on the ground and polls. In addition to our political activities we will continue to fight for daily causes,” Tibi said in response to accusations that Arab MKs are unpopular for focusing on their political agenda instead of the social concerns of their electorates.
Tibi said Israel should recognize its Arab citizens as a national minority which is entitled to protect its collective and personal rights. He said the list will not be running against other Arab lists but against Zionist lists which are fighting to win the Arab vote.
Tibi said the world is suffering from Islamophobia that “existed before 9/11 and became more serious thereafter to a point where the racist Europeans decided to disrespect the Prophet Muhammad. The western world needs to pass laws that outlaw offenses against religion like the laws passed against Holocaust denial.”
MK Talab el-Sana said: “The list is a flagship for a full political partnership with Arab citizens and it will seek to support bills like disengagement and budget which benefit the Arab public. We do not rule out a coalition with the government yet this should be based on a common political agenda.”