New Pro-Israel Arab Party in the Making

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- An Israeli Arab is forming a new political party that will be pro-Israel, reports say. Three other Arab political parties in the Knesset are very critical of Israel.

Some analysts even say some of their members constitute a fifth column within Israeli politics.

One Arab Knesset member, former Balad party head Azmi Bishara, is in self-imposed exile over suspicions that he aided Hezbollah terrorists during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) joined pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Turkish-owned Mavi Mamara in May 2010 on its failed mission to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Others have been known to back the positions of Israel's enemies. Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi even served as advisor to the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

But as Jerusalem Post political correspondent Gill Hoffman reported on Friday, a new "unabashedly pro-Israel" Arab party is being formed.

"Most Arab citizens are in favor of coexisting, cooperating, and living in harmony with Jewish Israelis," Sarhan Bader, 36, the party's founder, told the Post.

"The other Arab parties place too much emphasis on the Palestinians and external Arabs. But it's more important to serve the Arabs inside Israel who want to live in peace with our Jewish cousins," he said.

"After we solve the problems of internal Arabs, we can help the Palestinians," he said.

Bader said the new party would join the coalition rather than work from the opposition.

"Only a strong party like Likud can bring peace," he said.

"To serve the Arabs properly, it's important to work together with the ruling party in the coalition," he said. "I will dramatically improve things for the Arab sector."

Bader said his party would not "officially mark" the Nakba, while noting that he is "not responsible for what each person feels in his heart."

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