The Israeli Election Choices: Apartheid or Ethnic-Cleansing


Diana Buttu, Ramallah-based political analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators, and Palestinian citizen of Israel:

“For Palestinians — whether citizens of Israel or living under undemocratic Israeli military rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — these elections are the equivalent of a choice between Trump and Trump. Whether Netanyahu and his coalition with the fascist Jewish Power party — that openly advocates the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians — or Gantz, who prides himself on bombing Gaza back to the ‘Stone Ages,’ none of the major parties support a two-state solution or equality for Palestinians in a single state.

“Rather, this election will likely result in an even more extreme, right-wing extreme government than the last — which was the most right-wing in Israel’s history: an outcome that does not bode well for Palestinians, the region, or the world. This will happen irrespective of whether Netanyahu is elected or Gantz, as virtually none of the parties that will make it into the Knesset support Palestinian freedom or equality.”


Noura Erakat, Human rights attorney and Assistant Professor at George Mason University, former legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the UN, and author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine (2019):

“It is way past time for the international community to scrutinize Israel’s racial system of governance and nothing helps demonstrate that more than Israel’s elections. A broad swath of candidates are running on explicitly anti-Palestinian campaigns that mobilize voters by fomenting fear, declaring that Israel is a nation-state of “Jews alone’,” that promise to turn “Gaza into a parking lot,” and that depict violence against Palestinian lawmakers in Israel as a way to demonstrate fortitude.

“That is to say nothing of the nearly 5 million Palestinians excluded from voting who have lived under Israel’s military rule for over five decades. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are neither citizens of Israel nor sovereigns of their own state, because Israel covets Palestinian land and resources. Continuing to tout Israel as a democracy today is as laughable and dishonest as saying that Donald Trump is a centrist reformer aimed at achieving racial justice. It is high time we be honest about these basic facts.”


Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel and Palestine:

“The divide between Jewish American and Jewish Israeli values, as expressed through votes, has never been greater. Regardless of the outcome in the Israeli elections, the viable candidates and parties who could form a governing coalition range from right-wing to outright fascist. None support Palestinian statehood, rights, or equality.

“This election reinforces the need for pressure from outside Israel — including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) — for any hope of significant changes in Israeli policies towards the Palestinian people or progress towards peace.”

Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center, which promotes equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel:

“The extreme right in Israel and settler movement recognize the role the Arab community can play in ending the occupation and building regional peace, and therefore it is unsurprising that this election has been marked by parties targeting the political leadership of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“Yet while Arab voters can have an impact in changing a Netanyahu coalition, we will likely see low voter turnout because Arabs do not feel that voting will change the 70 year experience of being marginalized, second class citizens of the state, who are subjected to institutionalized racism and discrimination, including through the Jewish Nation State law and other laws and policies.”

Zaha Hassan, Human rights attorney and Middle East Fellow at New America. Ms. Hassan is a former coordinator and senior legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team during Palestine’s bid for UN membership:

“Much of the run up to the Israeli elections has been concerned with a dilemma Israel has faced since its inception: how to take the land (and then, more and more land) without having to enfranchise the indigenous Palestinians. In 1948, the answer was simple: force the majority of Muslims and Christians out while the international order was reeling from World War II. Following Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the solution is also simple regardless of which party claims victory: what Israel annexes, the US will recognize. Trump’s Mideast peace plan, expected to be released shortly, promises to be nothing more than a US seal of approval for Israel’s apartheid-reality.”



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