Taha: We want to live in peace
Photo: Hagai Aharon
At the cab company in Nazareth
Photo: Hagai Aharon

Israeli Arabs: Banning of parties 'racist'

Residents of Nazareth incensed by Elections Committee's decision to disqualify Arab parties from Knesset vote

Residents of Nazareth asys they are outraged at the Central Elections Committee's decision to disqualify Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al from the upcoming elections, with many calling the move "racist".


The decision was supported by most large parties, including Labor, but residents of Nazareth said Tuesday that the Knesset was only widening the schism between Arabs and Jews in Israel.


"This is a racist act, which will only widen the gap between Jews and Arabs. After all we come from the same roots; cousins," said Abdullah Ali Taha, who runs a cab company in the city. "It doesn't even matter what my political views are; the very act is outrageous."


An employee at the cab company said the move would  bolster the extreme Right. "The decision stresses the existing discrimination, and if it continues this way Lieberman and his people will take over the country," he said.


The High Court of Justice could still reverse the decision, and Balad has already announced that it would petition for its right to run in the elections.


Hatem Abu-Nasra, a resident of Nazareth, stressed the great significance of Arab representatives in the Knesset. "We live well here, better than in all other Arab countries, but there is still discrimination," he said.


"The parties disqualified yesterday just wanted to represent the sector and bridge the gap between Jews and Arabs. If Arabs are not represented in the Knesset, there will be no one to bridge the gap."


The question currently being debated by residents is whether to vote despite the recent developments. "This is definitely a decision that could keep people from voting," said Omar, who resides in the city.


"I have been talking to many people and this decision is pre-occupying many members of the Arab community. It's important they realize that the disqualified parties express (the views of) a huge public that will not be silenced."


Abdullah Ali Taha said that although Jews tend to see Arab parties' supporters as dissidents, many were simply opposed to what seemed to them a racist decision.


"Leaders from the entire political spectrum are looking for seats at the expense of ordinary people. We are all just creatures of God… who can and seek to live in peace together," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 01.13.09, 21:00
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