Skip to main content

Palestinian Elections Pointless Under Israeli Occupation

Talk of Palestinian elections creates the illusion that Palestinians are in charge of their destiny, but the real power ultimately lies with Israel, writes Rana Baker.
A Palestinian woman looks for her name on voter lists put up on a wall inside a school in Gaza City February 11, 2013. The Palestinian Central Election Commission (CEC) began on Monday registering voters in Gaza and the West Bank for an upcoming election that is hoped to help with healing nearly six years of political rifts among rival factions.  REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA) - RTR3DMRA

An estimated 300,000 individuals in the Gaza Strip have registered to vote in the allegedly forthcoming elections. Many, however, have done so only to make clear their opposition to the entire electoral process. Those who registered but are not going to vote will affect the turnout rate, thus making their point. Individuals willing to boycott the elections, should they actually take place, constitute a small minority, but their motives are worthy of examination.

It is important to bear in mind that "Palestinian elections," with the current geographical designations, i.e., Gaza and the West Bank, are in fact not "Palestinian" at all. That is, how can they be Palestinian, let alone legitimate, when the vast majority of the Palestinian population will be excluded? In other words, the Palestinian majority is scattered in the diaspora, including the Arab world, and will be denied participation in determining the future of their country, which here means historical Palestine.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.