Mousa Abu Maria’s vote will be counted in today’s Israeli elections — but he won’t step foot in a polling station. Instead, the 36-year-old Palestinian activist has asked an Israeli to cast a ballot for the party he thinks will fight for Palestinian rights: the Joint List, the preferred choice among many Palestinian citizens of the state. “Palestine is still under Israeli occupation; that should mean I have the right to vote. I don’t have my own country and Israel still controls everything. Israel has control of our life,” Abu Maria, who lives in the West Bank town of Beit Ommar and does not hold Israeli citizenship, told the Star. Ofer Neiman, an Israeli freelance translator who lives in Jerusalem, is casting his ballot for Abu Maria. He said he chose to give his vote in protest of what he views as undemocratic elections.
“One of the issues is millions of Palestinians who are under Israeli control in the occupied territories,” Neiman said. “They cannot vote in the elections that determine their fate, including matters of life and death.”
… But approximately 4.5 million Palestinians in the occupied territories are not voting; while they are not Israeli citizens, almost every aspect of their lives is affected by Israeli politics.
This reality helped kick-start an online campaign in Israel during the country’s last elections in 2013, urging eligible voters to give their votes to people who don’t have a say on — but are deeply impacted by — who gets elected.