United Arab List-Balad

Leader: Masud Ghnaim (United Arab List) and Jamal Zahalka (Balad)
Current Seats: 7
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: Opposition
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Opposes

The United Arab List is a conservative Islamist party and Balad is a pan-Arab nationalist party. The two factions previously ran in the predominantly Palestinian Joint List in 2015. After the departure of Ahmad Tibi’s Ta’al party, the list failed to reunify.

Balad is a pan-Arab nationalist party, while the United Arab List represents conservative Islamists.

The Joint List had been plagued by ideological clashes from the outset. In the run-up to the last election, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh sought to pre-empt concerns among left-wing Hadash voters that uniting with religiously conservative United Arab List factions might undermine his party’s support for progressive positions like gender equality. Officially, the Joint List supported a two-state solution, but Balad rejects the legitimacy of Israel and instead favors a unitary democratic state.

Balad rejects Israel’s legitimacy and a two-state solution, instead favoring a single democratic state.

After the 2015 elections, the Joint List was the third-largest faction in the Knesset, with 13 seats. The united entity featured complicated rotation mechanisms to balance the representation of the Joint List’s member parties. However, the resignation of several members (including one convicted of smuggling cell phones to terrorists) have impeded this rotation process. In early January, Ta’al leader Ahmad Tibi withdrew his party from the Joint List, though he was later rejoined by Hadash. Just days before the deadline to submit party lists, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pushed for the Palestinian-Israeli factions to reunite.