“Israel isn’t a state of all its citizens…Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – and it alone.”Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Arab citizens have been forced away from polling stations in record numbers as the Israeli election is said to be too close to call.
With anti-Arab sentiment at an all-time high amongst politicians, each one posturing to show their toughness on Palestine, Arabs have either chosen to boycott the elections or been effectively forced to stay away from the polls, a situation that has the potential to push Israeli politics yet further to the right.
There have been innumerable reports of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party sending activists with video cameras into Arab areas and into polling stations to film Arabs while attempting to vote, a tactic of intimidation.
While some have been intimidated into not voting, others have decided to stay away as a protest, refusing to partake in the fraud of democracy in a state widely accepted as practicing a form of apartheid. Israeli Arabs live as second class citizens in the country, with fewer opportunities for work and less funding for education, health and infrastructure.
That disenfranchisement of the Arabs means, however, that most parties that represent the community will not make it into the Knesset, further weakening an already oppressed voice in the country and pushing the nation’s politics yet further to the right.
The 2019 Israeli elections have been marked by the ever increasing rhetoric from the Israeli far-right, with several candidates glorifying massacres of Palestinians or even effectivly calling for genocide.
There is no democracy here.
For Netanyahu, the election is about far more than victory, with potentially his freedom from prosecution on the line as he fights to avoid investigations into three corruption and bribery charges. While Netanyahu has sown a decade of division in Israel and promised to annex the West Bank, a defeat is no victory for the people of Palestine or activists against his regime.
Benny Gantz, a former IDF commander, may present himself as a “centrist” but he has no differing views than Netanyahu on the issue of Palestine, his sickening campaign video boasting “1,364 terrorists killed” as it revels in the war crimes committed during 2014s Protective Edge operation in Gaza. The campaign led to the killing of 2100 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
Led by three former IDF chiefs, the Gantz campaign has all the hallmarks of a military strongman, the death of Palestinians being used as political capital and seen as a positive boost for his candidature.
While, at the time of writing, it is unclear who exactly will be victorious in the elections, there is no victory for the people of Palestine in either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz. These elections and disenfranchisement of Arab citizens prove yet again that there is no democracy here, that apartheid and widespread hatred of Arabs is endemic in Israeli society. How much longer can the west support the rhetoric of this apartheid nation and enable its actions?
If any other nation disenfranchised its Jewish citizens, filmed them at polling stations and revelled in their deaths, promoting killing Jews as an election tactic, we would rightly have one word for that abomination – Nazism.
The protestations of democratic respectability in this far-right state have long since worn thin.