Jerusalem Arab resident Ramadan Dabash, 51, is running for a slot in city hall in this year’s election, despite a backlash from the Palestinian Authority, which is attempting to sabotage his efforts.
A 51-year-old civil engineer who lives in Sur Baher, Dabash is heading a list (“Jerusalem Is My City”) that he hopes will pull as many as five seats on the 31-seat Jerusalem City Council, according to Ynet.
But to do that, he needs at least 8,000 votes to reach his own seat, first of all, and then an additional 8,000 votes for each additional seat thereafter.
His natural voting bloc would be those Jerusalem Arabs who can vote – about 220,000 are eligible. The problem is, only three percent of that number have actually gone to the polls in the past two elections. It’s a challenge.
The Palestinian Authority official “in charge” of Jerusalem affairs, Adnan Ghaith, is also doing whatever he can to sabotage Dabash’s bid.
“Our people in the city of Jerusalem will reject these outcasts who try to legitimize this occupation and the tools of this occupation,” Ghaith told Ynet.
But Dabash, who has grown up in Jerusalem, has a refreshingly pragmatic approach about politics and Arab life in Jerusalem.
Speaking with Reuters, he said bluntly, “East Jerusalemites suffer greatly from lack of services and representation in the municipality of Jerusalem…. Receiving services is not considered normalization. It is a continuity of the normal daily life we are living – we do not have any other alternative. Rights are taken, not granted.”
Israel’s local municipal elections are slated to be held on October 30.