United Arab List Presents Demands: NIS 64B, Finance Committee Control

israel elections
Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh. (Flash90)

With the last polls showing that neither the Likud nor Blue and White can expect to get enough MKs in their respective camps to form a government, the United Arab List said over the weekend that it is ready to step up and support Benny Gantz in forming a government. Assuming Gantz can persuade Avigdor Liberman to join his government, Blue and White could count on between 50 and 53 seats – and would need to recruit either members of the rightwing camp or the UAL to join his government.

The UAL has already said that it will not join a Gantz-led government, but it is willing to lend its votes for its formation, supporting it while not joining it. However, in return, the List expects several things – among them chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee, an allocation of NIS 64 billion for development of the Arab sector, and a guarantee that the government will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority on a deal that will establish a Palestinian state in all of Yehudah and Shomron. The Finance Committee has been chaired by United Torah Jewry MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni for years.

The list was revealed by Yediot Acharonot, which quoted List chairman Ayman Odeh that if his conditions were accepted, the party would support a Gantz government. Several weeks ago, Odeh said that he was prepared to join such a government as well, but backtracked after heavy criticism by members of the party. However, he said, all UAL members were on board with his demands for supporting the government from the outside.

Other demands posed by Odeh include passing a Basic Law that would guarantee equal rights for Arabs; establishing new industrial zones in Arab areas and preferential treatment for female Arab workers; extra efforts by police to halt crime in the Arab sector; cancellation of the Nation-State Law; and the establishment of a new Arab city, complete with university and hospital.

The list will be presented to Gantz after the election in the event that Netanyahu is unable to form a government. The situation, Yediot Acharonot said, was similar to that in 1992, when the Hadash party supported the government of Yitzchak Rabin from outside the coalition. During his term, Rabin passed the Oslo Accords, which led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.