Peace & Equality Party (Acre)
|Peace & Equality Party|
מפלגת שלום ושוויון
حزب السلام والمساواة
|Founded||12 February 2020|
|Ideology|| • Big tent |
• Minority interests
• Two-state solution
• Arab Christian interests
• Druze interests
• Baháʼí interests
The Peace & Equality Party is a big tent political party in the Islamic Emirate of Acre. It was founded by Antoun Hussein to represent Acre's various minority communities - in particular, Arab Christians and Druze - whom Antoun believed had been ignored by the discourse in the major Akkan political parties.
Antoun Hussein (February 2020-present)
The Peace & Equality Party was a relative latecomer to Akkan politics, formed just eight days before the inaugural February 2020 general election. Its founder, Antoun Hussein, believed Acre's ethnic minorities had been ignored by the major political parties, who sought either to represent Jewish Israelis or Muslim Arabs. Alongside these larger groups, a number of small ethnic communities exist in Acre; most notable are the Arab Christians and the Druze.
Despite its short existence, the PEP managed to win 3% of the vote in the February election, netting them a single seat in the Akkan Parliament, taken up by Hussein himself who became Member of Parliament for Bat Galim.
While in opposition, the PEP was strongly supportive of the Liberal Union's efforts to establish consensus surrounding Acre's institutions, supporting the creation of Rabbinical courts and a second Israeli-styled flag to exist alongside the Islam-styled one. Shortly before the October 2020 general election, Hussein - himself a Melkite Greek Catholic - announced a policy of pushing for Christianity to be made the third national religion of Acre. This policy delivered the PEP an additional 2% of the vote, sufficient to win a second seat in Mazra'a-Regba. The PEP considered entering into coalition government with the Conservative Party, the Labor Zionist Party and the Movement for the Homeland, but ultimately decided against it due to the latter's secularism and their nationalist rhetoric.
As a party who seeks to represent a particular confession in Acre, the PEP is not linked to any one particular ideological current or political position. It considers itself a big tent movement for all ethnic minorities in Acre. In practice, its membership tend to be centre-left to centre-right, with more left-wing Arabs voting for the People's Democratic Union. The party is pro-democratic in its language, and tends to favour consensus-based approaches to political decision-making.
The party is considered socially moderate and consensus-driven. It strongly endorsed the Liberal Union's attempts to create agreement surrounding Acre's institutions, supporting inclusive programs for Israelis and Jews. More so than the Liberal Union however, the PEP was defensive of the Emir of Acre, whom they believed could act as a defensive measure to protect Arabs, who are a minority in Acre.
The party promotes what it calls a middle way on LGBT issues, supporting civil unions but opposing gay marriage. Much of the PEP's program concerns social issues which affect particularly the minority confessions in Acre - the tackling of inequality and homelessness for instance is a key policy of the PEP.
The PEP explicitly seeks to represent minority confessions in Acre - in particular, Arab Christians and Druze. That said, the PEP does also speak more broadly of promoting Arab interests in general, which motivated for instance their defence of the Akkan Emirate. Other smaller communities are also represented by the party - Ahmadiyya Muslims, Baháʼís and expatriates are all explicitly represented by the party. Though at times the PEP has hinted at representing the Haredi community, Haredi Jews tend to migrate to the Conservative Party and the Movement for the Homeland.
The PEP favours a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. East Jerusalem and a select number of large settlements close to the border would be annexed by Israel, while the remaining settlements would be returned to Palestine. Palestinians would receive access to Jerusalem in return for a limited Israeli security presence within the West Bank, and a separated road or tunnel would be created to link up the West Bank and Gaza. Acre would remain part of Israel as a devolved entity.
Support for the PEP is generally spread throughout the entire country, with Druze voters, dispersed widely throughout Acre, forming a core base of support for the party. Arab parts of Haifa and the Arab town of Mazra'a in the north see higher rates of support for the PEP, due to their Arab Christian population.
|Election year||Leader||%||+/-||seats won||+/-||Government|
|February 2020||3%||N/A||N/A||in opposition|
|October 2020||5%||▲ 2%||▲ 1||in opposition|
|December 2020||5%||0%||0||in opposition|
|April 2021||5%||0%||0||in coalition government|
Arab Christian Caucus
Arab Christians make up a large section of the PEP, however their numbers are often subject to great fluctuations, with Arab Christians often shifting to and from the People's Democratic Union. The Arab Christian caucus seeks to have Christianity recognised as a third national religion, which would afford Christian churches a number of benefits, and allow Christians to establish special ecclesiastical courts to handle civil cases. The Arab Christian caucus also includes non-Arab Christians.
• Antoun Hussein
The Druze caucus is steady in its size due to near unanimous support from within the Druze community for the PEP. Unlike the Arab Christian caucus, they do not generally push for official recognition of the Druze faith, and instead focuses on economic concerns and promoting the pan-confessional nature of Acre.
Somewhat misleadingly, the Baháʼí caucus is majority non-Baháʼí, as Baháʼís are discouraged from living within Israel by their own faith. The caucus does have Baháʼí members, but is so-named because of the caucus' rallying around the Baháʼí gardens, which act as a stark symbol of Acre's multi-religious nature. The caucus generally emphasise the role of Acre as the custodian of these holy sites, and use them as a point around which many different minority groups can rally. Members are an admixture of Baháʼís, Ahmadiyya Muslims and expatriates.