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Arabs Fail to Form Influential Bloc in Elections, but Hail Labor Victory

Labor’s victory over Likud in Tuesday’s elections was hailed throughout the Arab world and by Palestinians in the administered territories who expect a Labor-led government to be more amenable to compromise.

But Israeli Arabs, through lack of unity and bitter quarrels between their candidates, lost a chance to become an influential force in Israeli politics and threw away thousands of votes in the process.

The Progressive List for Peace and Equality, headed by Mohammed Miari, who occupied its single seat in the 12th Knesset, failed to scale the 1.5 percent threshold necessary to enter the 13th.

The rival Arab Democratic Party, led by Abdel Wahab Darousha, apparently won two Knesset seats, though as of Wednesday, there was still a possibility that the party would be shut out when the final votes were counted.

Had Darousha and Miari run on a joint list, as many Palestinians were urging them to do, a significant Arab bloc might have emerged in the Knesset for the first time.

But the enmity between the two men, personal as well as political, wrecked months of negotiations mediated by influential members of Israel’s Arab community.

On Wednesday, Darousha and Miari were each accusing the other of “stupidity.”

Miari’s party has a vote surplus agreement with the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, a virtually all-Arab Communist party also

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