Arab leaders are quick to condemn any behavior that might suggest the slightest whiff of “normalization” with the state of Israel. Personal visits to the Holy Land for tourism or even pilgrimage, for example, are a big no-no in the eyes of most Arab and Muslim leaders. Egypt’s new Coptic pope has said as much. But now, the Arab League is calling for Arab citizens to participate in Israel’s election on Tuesday. Why? To help prevent a victory by the ascendant Israeli right.
Regional Arab indifference toward Palestinians living in Israel is nothing new. As this BBC piece points out, Israel’s Arab citizens were neither mentioned in the founding articles of the Arab League in the 1940s, nor the Oslo Accords of the 1990s.
A community activist told me this morning that many Palestinians in Israel welcomed the acknowledgment from the Arab League about the importance of getting out to vote tomorrow. “Too bad it comes this late,” he added, and that it’s not supported by a broader effort.
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi has an op-ed today detailing profound concerns about where Israeli politics are leading the Jewish State and the region. She mentions Arab citizens in Israel, but doesn’t echo the Arab League’s call for them to participate in the election.
“Justice seems to have no meaning in the Israeli political lexicon unless it is in relation to Israeli Jewish citizens. This fact can be attested to by the 1.5 million Christian and Muslim Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship and yet face institutionalized discrimination within Israel itself. Incitement against Palestinians is on the rise.”