Newly elected Arab Knesset members visit Abbas in Ramallah

Joint Arab List party leader Ayman Odeh. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Newly elected Arab members of the Israeli Knesset visited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday evening.

The delegation included the head of the Joint Arab List party, Ayman Odeh, as well as MKs Masoud Ghanayim, Jamal Zahalqa, and Usama al-Saadi, Ma’an News Agency reported. 

According to reports, Abbas congratulated the party on its success in the March 17 Israeli election. The Joint Arab List won 13 Knesset seats, making it the third-largest party in Israel’s legislature behind Likud and Zionist Union. Abbas was publicly supportive of the Arab party during the election campaign, saying he supports any party within Israel that opposes “racism, discrimination, and apartheid.” 

The Knesset members’ visit to Ramallah came as Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for a semi-official boycott of the Joint Arab List by other Israeli parties as well as the Israeli government for what he described as “traitorous behavior” by party members. Odeh’s public relations chief recently compared Zionism to the Islamic State terror group.

The Joint Arab List was formed before the election by smaller Arab parties—including United Arab List, Ta’al, Balad, and Hadash—due to an increase in the Israeli election threshold. 

Posted on March 25, 2015 .