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Op-ed encourages Palestinians who live in “the 1948 Interior,” i.e. Israeli Arabs, to vote in Israeli elections

Excerpt of an op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily

Headline: “The importance of the Palestinian vote”

“When looking at the topic of the Israeli elections, which are being held tomorrow (Tuesday) [Sept. 17, 2019], we find completely political forces that are continuing to hold steadfastly to the same negative place and position regarding the elections. These forces, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its branch in the Interior (i.e., Palestinian term for Israel) and the children of the land movement… are completely rejecting participation of the Palestinian masses in the Galilee, the Triangle (i.e., a concentration of Israeli-Arab towns and villages in northern Israel), the Negev, and the mixed cities in any election… It is as if this stream wants to rip the members of the [Palestinian] people from their reality and place them in a tower or in space, detached from society… If history were to take us back 60 years and present the [question of] participating in elections then, realistic logic would have said that participating in them is aligning with the new colonialist project. But we are speaking about a colonialist state which has existed for 72 years… and the number [of Palestinians living in it] is approaching 2 million people. They have social, financial, cultural, professional, health, and educational interests, in addition to the political demand. Therefore, it is impossible to deal with the elections according to the old historical criteria. The colonialism state, whether we want or not, is part of the geopolitical reality, and the Palestinian Arab people… needs to deal with it as a reality in order to resolve the conflict… The leadership of the people in the Galilee, the Triangle, and the Negev must protect the interests of the people that is present in all of its shades, and protect the masses’ political, financial, social, and cultural rights. Participating in the elections is an inseparable part of the political and legal struggle and the like. The more the Palestinian masses vote in the elections and the percentage and number of their seats in the Israeli Parliament grows, this will strengthen the status of the Palestinian presence and emphasize that the Palestinian Arab people is the tough or toughest factor in the Israeli equation, and through its presence in the legislating institution it can also be the decisive factor in the peace equations and in passing positive laws, or preventing contradictory, hostile, and racist laws. The Palestinian presence in the Israeli Parliament also emphasizes to those near and far that the Palestinian cause lives on, it is not dead, and their struggle constitutes support for the PLO’s struggle and supports the realization of the national goals.

Therefore, the Palestinians’ voting in the elections of the 1948 Interior is an important achievement for the Palestinian Arab people, and the lack of voting works in favor of the Zionist colonialist forces… Therefore, we must all demand that our masses vote and massively participate in the elections, because that works in favor of their interests and in favor of the entire people’s interests.”

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