On Election Day, Israeli citizens vote also for disenfranchised Palestinians

 











haaretz.com
On election day, we’re all dropping two ballots in the box. The upper 1 percent as well as all the others – Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, men and women, heterosexuals and the LGBT community, right-wing and left, secular and religious and even the Arabs among us – all of us are voting twice.

We, Israeli citizens, are also voting instead of the 2.5 million Palestinians over the age of 18 who live in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. Our votes also determine their lives, their futures and their disasters, no less and perhaps even more than our own.

Although Israel is a democracy for Jews, it is also a greedy capitalist state, in which the government and society’s responsibility for the individuals and their well-being are reduced to the shameful minimum. Poverty and social gaps are not a plague from heaven.

They are a result of the policy that determines resources and incomes based on classes, regions, background and ethnicity, tracking and investment methods that discriminate against the most important resource of all – human beings. But even in the greedy, capitalist state that Israel has become, there are some additional rights that are reserved for Israeli citizens – aside from the right to vote – that can be used to challenge the arbitrariness and indifference of a crony capitalism.

We have the right to protest, to strike, to organize, to talk, write, know, find out, broadcast radio shows, and fill the boulevard with tents. On the other hand, the rights of the Palestinians to fight against Israel’s violent, arbitrary rule are completely trampled. They are either systematically ignored, or violently repressed.

Palestinian resistance is labeled terror, or anti-Semitism, [how many Americans understand that these occupiers are not even Semites?] or a breach of the state’s security, or unilateral steps, or a violation of law and order, or a lack of public interest.
If Israel were the democratic state it purports to be, every individual within its borders would have the right to vote. But it’s not.

The territory that elected governments rules extends from the sea to the river. Greater Israel. Within that territory live two peoples – Jewish Israelis and Palestinians. But only a minority of Palestinians are citizens with the right to vote. Both peoples have the right to self-determination; in the meantime, only one has realized it.

The principle of inequality between the two peoples (and not just the inequality among various Jewish ethnic groups) has guided each and every government to rule over this singular territory. It is expressed in two separate legal systems, uneven allocations of natural resources and budgets, as well as in differences of freedom of movement, the choice of places to live, and more.

So don’t call it apartheid. But the unequal development of the two peoples in the same greater land is the guiding principle and philosophy. Even if it isn’t officially declared, it emanates from every built acre and every electric pole or water tower.

The Israeli government must be accountable in some way to the voters that it rules. But it sees itself as completely unaccountable to those it rules without the right to vote. Therefore, the government that will come to power as a result of Tuesday’s elections – like all governments since 1967 – is far freer to determine the fate of all the Palestinians living in these lands than it is to determine the future of Israelis with the right to vote.

With each election that passes, the government’s abuses of those without the right to vote grow stronger, because the large majority of Israeli voters choose in these democratic elections to let the abuses grow stronger. Unfortunately, the same decision will be made today. Until when? Until the domination over the Palestinians stops paying off for us, the Jewish Israelis.

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Jerusalem is the capital. Palestine, currently under occupation, is located on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea, West of Jordan and to the south of Lebanon. The territory of Palestine covers around 10,435 square miles.

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