Saturday, 19. January 2019

Last weekend, Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, the electoral front headed by the Communist Party of Israel) launched its campaign for the upcoming April 9th general elections for the 21st Knesset. Preparatory meetings were held last week in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nazareth.

Israel opened a new “Apartheid Road” on Wednesday, January 9, separating Palestinians and settlers in the occupied West Bank.  After a delay of years, Route 4370 in the Jerusalem area has been completed and made accessible to traffic. The road connects the settlement of Geva Binyamin to Route 1, the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, and is the first link in the establishment of the Eastern Ring Road on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Its opening represents yet another step in the progress of the E1 project to link the urban settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim with Jerusalem from the east.

MK Ahmad Tibi announced Tuesday, January 8, that he is withdrawing his single-MK-party Ta’al (Arab Movement for Renewal) from the Joint List ahead of the April 9 election, and that his party will be running independently. It is unclear whether Tibi’s party can pass the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent on its own.

“I request the Knesset House Committee’s approval to withdraw Ta’al from the Joint List,” Tibi wrote in a statement ahead of a meeting of the committee scheduled for Wednesday, January 9. In that meeting the committee members approved Tibi’s request.

Over 50 prominent Israeli Jews of Mizrahi (Eastern) origin filed a petition with the Supreme Court last week demanding it strike down the racist Nation-State Law, claiming that it discriminates against both Jewish Mizrahi and Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel. When the Court holds its first session to discuss the several petitions that have been submitted against the law on January 28, a mass Arab-Jewish demonstration will be held in Jerusalem.

Hadash lawmaker Dov Khenin (Joint List), announced Tuesday, December 2, that he will not be running for the Knesset in April 9’s general elections.

Khenin make the announcement at a press conference in the Knesset after having previously informed the heads of Communist Party of Israel (CPI) of his intention to leave the Knesset after 12 years as a legislator. MK Khenin is a long-time member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPI.

Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) vowed to increase his electoral alliance’s power in the next Knesset. In a speech before the parliamentary plenum on Wednesday, December 26, before the vote on the law to dissolve the 20th Knesset, Odeh said: “This was a racist and divisive government… When the Joint List increases its power, we will have the numbers to topple this racist, extremist right-wing government.”

The preeminent Israeli author Amos Oz died on Friday, December 28, after a short battle with cancer. He was 79.

At the age of 69, Sheikh Sayeh Abu-Madi’am, a prominent figure in the Arab-Bedouin’s struggle with the state over the control of land in the Negev, entered Ma’asiyahu prison in Ramle on Tuesday, December 25, accompanied by a convoy of cars and hundreds of people, among them: Joint List Chairman, MK Ayman Odeh, MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) and Hadash activists.

Following a cumulative 107 days of incarceration, Hillel Garmi,18, of Yodfat in the north of the country has been exempted from military service by the Israeli army’s “Conscience Committee.”

Garmi, one of the initiators of the High School Students’ Letter against Occupation, was issued an exemption last week following completion of his seventh period of incarceration since he first refused to be inducted into the Israeli military in July 2018.

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