My answer to "Why can’t Palestinians vote in Israeli elections?"

My answer to “Why can’t Palestinians vote in Israeli elections?”


Original question and other contributors’ answers can be read on QUORA at: https://www.quora.com/Why-cant-Palestinians-vote-in-Israeli-elections

The question is basically flawed and demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the difference between Palestinians and Israelis and the states of Palestine and Israel. Like most of the debate on this subject the question is attempting to be rhetorical, it is emotive, uninformed and leads the debate down the usual “cul-de-sac” which is typically nuanced by anti-Israeli sentiment and blind support for a Palestinian cause that is flawed and fundamentally at odds with and supported by elements totally alien to Western / Israeli interests.

Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah and so on are all subjects on which many Westerners are prepared to hold very strong opinions regarding a subject on which they are generally thoroughly misinformed (based on biased media reports or blanket “liberal” agendas) or regarding which they possess no context or actual information – based on facts – that would inform an educated view on the matter.


The Palestinians do exercise their votes locally and most recently did so to choose Hamas – a terrorist organization – as their “democratically” elected representatives. Hamas – a group – who have zero interest in democracy.

Iran & Saudi Arabia – Proxy Wars

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been and are presently fighting proxy “sphere of influence” wars across the region via terrorist / extremist groups such as Hamas / Hezbollah / Fatah / ISIS and most recently in Yemen via Zaidi Shia rebels known as Houthis / AQAP.


Hamas –  Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement

Hamas (Arabic: حماس‎ Ḥamās, “enthusiasm”, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Islamic organization, with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Middle East including Qatar. Hamas or its military wing is designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The organization was also banned in Jordan.

Elections in Gaza and the West Bank

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. 

Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration. In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.

Internal Fighting – The Battle of Gaza 2007

Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there. 

In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress has stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014. In 2006, Hamas used an underground cross-border tunnel to abduct the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. 

Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels, which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict – Operation Protective Edge.

The Palestinian National Authority

Elections in the Palestinian National Authority refers to elections held in Palestinian Autonomous areas from 1994 until its transition into the State of Palestine in 2013. Elections were scheduled to be held in 2009 per the state’s own laws,[1] but the Next Palestinian general election was disrupted amidst a conflict between Hamas and Fatah.

President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to stay on until the next election, but he is recognised only in the West Bank and not in Gaza. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has held several elections in the Palestinian territories, including elections for a president, legislature and local councils. Until 2007, the National Council had 133 members, with 66 members elected in 16 multi-seat constituencies, 66 elected proportional to the vote for each party, and the president as ex officio member. 

In 2007, the voting system was changed by Presidential Decree to abolish the constituency seats, and also prohibiting parties from contesting the election which did not acknowledge the PLO’s right to represent the Palestinian people (specifically Hamas). An opinion poll suggested that a majority of Palestinians supported the change, while Hamas called it illegal. 

Fatah and Hamas / Gaza and the West Bank

The PNA has a multi-party system, with numerous parties. In this system Fatah was the dominant party. The first Legislative and presidential election were held in 1996; the first local elections in January–May 2005, organized by PNA president Yasser Arafat before his death. Previous (failed) legislative Council elections were held in 1923 under the British Mandate. Previous municipal elections were held in 1972 and 1976 and were organized by Israel.

The January 2005 presidential election, won by Mahmoud Abbas, preceded the Hamas victory during the legislative election in January 2006.

Sources & Acknowledgements: Wikipedia / TMG Corporate Services / BBC News