Dehamshe, Abdulmalik (1943–)
DEHAMSHE, ABDULMALIK (1943–)
Israeli-Arab politician, born in Kfar Kana. He is a lawyer and former president of the Israeli League of Human Rights. Abdulmalik Dehamshe was arrested in 1971 and sentenced to ten years in jail for belonging to al-Fatah. An atheist at the time, he became a practicing Muslim during his detention. Freed in 1978 and readmitted to the Israeli bar, he became one of the main leaders of the Israeli Arab Movement. At the beginning of the 1980s, he was responsible for the protection of the HAMAS leader Ismaʿil Ahmad Yasin. In April 1996, he joined with the Arab Democratic Party in creating a common list, the United Arab List, for the parliamentary elections scheduled for that spring. In the elections of 29 May 1996, Dehamshe won a seat, thus becoming the first Islamist to sit in the Knesset. In the general elections of May 1999, the United Arab List won five seats, one of which was taken by Dehamshe. In October 2000, with the Intifada raging in the Occupied Territories, he failed to convince other Israeli-Arab leaders to form a single electoral list. In 2003, Dehamshe was still a member of the Knesset representing the United Arab List.