Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fears of Arab Fifth Column

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Fears of Arab Fifth Column

The number of Arab party Members of Knesset will decline from nine to four following the February 10 elections, according to a new poll carried out by Geocartographia for Globes. The survey reflects a growing trend among Israeli Arabs to boycott the Israeli democratic process and ally with radical anti-Israel groups, most notably the Islamic Movement headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Known Arab terrorist organizations also are getting openly involved in Israel. Police on Friday shut down the Maidan Theatre in Haifa, where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group was planning a rally for Saturday.

The event was promoted as a pre-election rally, but police said information indicated that the purpose was to back the terrorist group that was headed by the late George Habash. In response, Issam Mashul, a former MK of the predominantly Arab Hadash party that includes Jewish MK Doc Khenin, called the police move "political terror."

Virtually all pre-election polls show that Hadash will win four seats in the next Knesset, one more than it now holds.

However, the Ra'am-Ta'al and Balad parties, along with a new party that wants to shift focus to issues other than the Arab-Jewish struggle, will not hold any seats at all in the next legislature, according to the Globes poll. Other surveys the past three days project 8-10 seats for Arab MKs.

The High Court recently overturned a Knesset Elections Committee decision that Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al cannot run because of their positions that question the validity of a Jewish nation. The Geocartographia poll indicates that the committee decision touched off a negative reaction in the Arab community, according to the polling group's manager Prof. Avi Degani.

The projected lack of Israel Arabs' participation in the upcoming election is a new low. "If a third of the Arab electorate fails to go the polls, that will be a danger signal," Globes noted.

Forty percent of Arab respondents have not decided how they will vote or whether they will join a growing number who have said they will boycott the ballot box.

If they vote for non-Arab parties, Kadima and Meretz may benefit. The latest polls project between 28 and 31 seats for the Likud, 20-23 for Kadima and 13-17 for Labor. All of the surveys agree that Shas will maintain its current level of 11 seats or will lose only one, while Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) is projected with 16 MKs and Meretz 5-7 seats.

The surveys also show that the Jewish Home faction, which is largely a renewal of the National Religious Party, will win 3-4 seats. The Ichud Leumi (National Union) is projected to earn 3-5 seats. United Torah Judaism (UTJ) would be represented with 5-7 MKs if elections were held now..

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