Israeli citizens “donate” their ballot to Palestinians

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The Lebanon Daily Star (linked via Reddit.com) reports news of the “Real Democracy” project – a joint campaign launched by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, attracting “thousands” of participants.

As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Mousa Maria has no legal right to vote in Israeli elections this week, but thanks to this campaign an Israeli voter, Shahaf Weisbein, will be casting a ballot for him for the Arab-Israeli party Balad. Shimri Zameret, a 28-year-old Israeli activist who helped Maria to set up the initiative, is donating his vote to a 19-year-old Palestinian.

hanin zoabiIts candidate, Hanin Zoabi, the first Arab Israeli woman to be elected to the Israeli legislative body on an Arab party’s list,faced attempts to disqualify her from the Knesset last month: “The Israelis tried to stop her from being a member of the Knesset and I think that she needs support, and if she knows that some Palestinians support her too it will make her feel stronger,” Mousa Maria told AFP.

They are challenging a system they see as undemocratic: “The Israeli government rules the citizens of Palestine, but is not elected by them. That’s undemocratic. Democracy means rule by and for the people.”

Shimri Zameret hopes the initiative can draw attention to what he calls a lack of democracy at the United Nations, calling for reform of veto powers and a reorganisation of the body along the lines of the European Union, including representation for opposition parties, as in the EU.

Many Arab residents of Israel — Palestinians who stayed in what became Israel after 1948, and their descendants — who do not generally vote are being urged by Mousa Maria to do so and win a ‘space in the government’, get a better chance to do something, or at least have a voice.

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