Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
MKs Ayman Odeh (L) and Ahmad Tibi, heads of the Joint Arab List, May 30, 2022.

Joint Arab List leaders, MKs Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi, and Samy Abu Shahadeh, met in secret with the head of PA Intelligence and close associate of Mahmoud Abbas, Majed Faraj, in an attempt to influence the results of the Israeli elections, News12 reported Friday. Faraj has been mentioned as Abbas’s replacement and has replaced the late Saeb Erekat as head of the PA’s delegation to negotiate peace with Israel.

Faraj has met twice with the three Arab MKs last week to discuss the coming elections. According to the report, he suggested the Joint List readmit Mansour Abbas’s Ra’am party to help deny Benjamin Netanyahu a 61-seat coalition. Ra’am used to be part of the Joint List but withdrew over ideological differences. For one thing, the ultra-conservative Muslim Brotherhood-spawned Ra’am did not get along with the atheist Communist party led by Odeh.

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According to the report, Faraj scolded his guests, saying, “You are not doing enough to raise the voting percentage in Arab society to prevent Netanyahu from returning to power.”

A senior Palestinian Authority official confirmed the meeting to News12, but clarified: “These are political meetings that PA officials hold all the time with both Arab and Jewish Knesset members, without any interference in Israeli elections.”

The Joint Arab List refused to comment.

The Likud campaign issued a statement saying, “The publication of possible interference by the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli elections to prevent former Prime Minister Netanyahu from being elected is for all intents and purposes a political attack with criminal aspects. The Likud intends to contact the Shin Bet and Israel Police and demand a comprehensive investigation into this serious development and those involved in it.”

Majed Faraj was born and raised in the Daheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem, to a family that came from the village of Ras Abu Amar in the Jerusalem mountains. As a child, he attended the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration schools in the camp. In 1977, when he was only 15, Faraj founded Fatah’s youth committees, which later operated as part of the first intifada. He became one of the leaders of Fatah during the first intifada and was arrested for the first time by Israel’s security forces and served a year and a half in an Israeli prison. Faraj was arrested at least 14 more times and spent a total of six years in prison and detention centers in Israel. While behind bars, Faraj earned a bachelor’s degree in administration at Al-Quds Open University.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.