Palestinian candidates unite in poll threat to Netanyahu

The rare show of Palestinian unity may thwart a second attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2019

Palestinian candidates unite in poll threat to Netanyahu

  • The Palestinians have contested elections only once before on a joint list, in 2016

AMMAN: Palestinian politicians in Israel will run on a joint list for election to the Knesset in September.

The rare show of Palestinian unity may thwart a second attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government, which he failed to do after elections in April.

The Palestinians have contested elections only once before on a joint list, in 2016, when they won 13 seats. Fragmented again in April’s poll, they won only 10.

If the Palestinian list repeats its 2016 performance, Netanyahu will struggle to form a coalition with his far-right allies. His failure to do so in April led to September’s election, and the prime minister’s position is further complicated by his indictment on corruption charges.

“We are fighting racism and we want the voices of the authentic Palestinian minority in Israel to be heard,” Knesset member Ahmad Tibi told Arab News. “We want to be part of the change in the political party landscape by defeating the right-wing forces and bringing down Netanyahu.”

Another Knesset member, Aida Tuma-Suleiman, told Arab News the joint list was a victory for the Palestinian minority in Israel
and for the Palestinian people
as a whole. 

“The joining together of different political factions is a unique occurrence in Arab political life,”
she said.

“With hard work we can get our people out to ballot boxes and get rid of Netanyahu once and for all.”


US sanctions Iran minister over Internet censorship

Updated 12 min 2 sec ago

US sanctions Iran minister over Internet censorship

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting Internet access
  • Mnuchin: Iran’s leaders know that a free and open Internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury slapped punitive sanctions on Iran’s communications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Friday after the Tehran regime blocked Internet communications amid violent protests triggered by a petrol price hike.
“We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting Internet access, including to popular messaging applications that help tens of millions of Iranians stay connected to each other and the outside world,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
“Iran’s leaders know that a free and open Internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests,” Mnuchin said.
The protests erupted across the country on November 15, after the price of petrol was raised by as much as 200 percent.
Officials have confirmed five deaths, while Amnesty International said that more than 100 demonstrators were believed to have been killed after authorities reportedly used live ammunition to quell the protests, which brought attacks on police stations and petrol stations and some looting of shops.
The Treasury said Azari Jahomi is a former official of the Ministry of Intelligence who has advanced Internet censorship since becoming minister two years ago.
He has “also been involved in surveillance against opposition activists,” the Treasury said.
Internet service remained mostly blocked on Friday for a sixth day, with officials and news agencies saying the blackout was gradually being rolled back.
The sanctions would freeze financial assets and property Azari Jahomi has in US jurisdictions and forbid Americans or US businesses, especially banks, from dealing with him.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump accused Iran of blocking the Internet to cover up “death and tragedy” resulting from the protests.
“Iran has become so unstable that the regime has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country,” Trump tweeted.
“They want ZERO transparency, thinking the world will not find out the death and tragedy that the Iranian Regime is causing!” he wrote.