The agreement on a coalition that would oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and include an Arab party in government has prompted indignation and relief in roughly equal measure among Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Indignation because Naftali Bennett, who will become prime minister until 2023 if Parliament approves the proposed eight-party coalition, is a right-wing leader aligned with religious nationalists in strong opposition to a Palestinian state.
Relief because Mr. Netanyahu, while sometimes courting Israeli Arabs of late, has often used their presence to generate fear among his base, famously warning in 2015 that they were voting “in droves.” He has fanned division where possible and declared that Israel is “the nation-state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.”
These provocations, and the passing of a nation-state bill in 2018 that said the right to exercise self-determination was “unique to the Jewish people,” contributed to the anger evident in violent confrontations in several cities last month between Arabs and Jews.
That a small Arab party known by its Hebrew acronym, Raam, agreed to join the government so soon after the clashes reflected a growing realization that marginalization of Arab parties brings only paralysis. It also suggested a desire among some Palestinian citizens, who account for 20 percent of the Israeli population, to exert more political influence.
Raam, with four seats in the current Parliament, would be the first independent Arab party in an Israeli government, although it would not have any cabinet members.
“I do not think that the two-state solution or reconciliation with the Palestinians will be achieved in the coming year or two,” said Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center, an advocacy group for
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