A campaign billboard for the Joint Arab List is seen in the Arab Israeli town of Arabe March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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A political sideshow for much of the past six decades, Israel's 1948 Palestinian minority is hoping to gain much-needed muscle after next week's parliamentary elections, with four Palestinian parties uniting under one banner for the first time.Surveys show the Joint Arab List could even finish third in the vote and become a factor in the coalition-building that dominates Israeli politics, where no party has ever won a parliament majority.Many in the Palestinian community, which makes up 20 percent of Israel's 8 million population, see the newfound unity as a breakthrough in battling discrimination and gaining recognition. That is unlikely to change now – but the Joint Arab List could still have a big role to play after the votes are counted.The Palestinian parties have traditionally won around 11 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, has hinted that the faction may back Isaac Herzog, whose centre-left Zionist Union is running neck-in-neck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud before the March 17 vote.
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