Arab holdout party Balad joins Joint List

Balad joins the larger Arab alliance to improve its electoral chances.

By World Israel News Staff

Balad, the Arab party that resisted combining with the Joint List, a coalition of Arab parties, has announced it will become part of the alliance ahead of the September elections.

The three parties that made up the Joint List – Hadash, Ta’al and Ra’am – offered Balad two guaranteed spots in the top 10 of the list and a third place in the 13th spot, Yediot Ahronot reports.

Head of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, praised Balad for participating, saying a Joint List was more important than ever for helping minority populations, bringing about “the end of the occupation” and ensuring equal rights in Israeli society.

Hadash member Ofer Cassif said, “I’m convinced that together, all four elements, will work together in a tight and productive partnership against the ills of society, the occupation, racism, discrimination, violence, and for equality, democracy and justice for all — Arabs and Jews together.”

The three parties, which announced their merger on Saturday, had earlier expressed anger that Balad had not joined, according to Israel Hayom.  “If Balad continues to be stubborn on minor items, we’ll all pay a heavy price and lose precious mandates. There’s a real danger that Balad won’t pass the electoral threshold. The Arab public won’t forgive them for it,” party sources had said.

Balad’s platform opposes a solely Jewish state and wants to see Israel defined as a state of all its citizens. It supports the creation of a Palestinian State along the 1967 borders.

Its founder, Azmi Bishara, was charged and indicted for supporting terrorist organizations against Israel in 2002 and 2006.