Palestinian Authority election excludes most Palestinians

Regarding “Free and open to all,” Ha’aretz, 4 January 2005:

The editorial states “Palestinian leaders have demanded that these elections encompass the entire Palestinian public, including thousands of prisoners and residents of East Jerusalem, since only comprehensive elections can give whomever is elected the legitimacy he needs to continue conducting diplomatic negotiations with Israel’s government.”

This is absolutely false. The majority of the Palestinian public lives in forced exile in the Diaspora, denied the right to vote and unable to travel freely to our country to vote or participate in the January 9 election. All our calls to be included have been ignored by Palestinian leaders and by the international peace process industry, despite the fact that Afghan refugees and Iraqis in exile have been afforded the opportunity to vote in their countries’ elections.

It is obvious that all those who see in Mahmoud Abbas an “opportunity” have no desire for the voice of Palestinians in exile to be heard, since Palestinians would never of their own accord abandon their inalienable rights in line with various proposals such as the Geneva Initiative and the Beilin-Abu Mazen plan, all of which envisage “peace” at the expense of Palestinian refugees.

Hence, it seems it is easier for Ha’aretz and many others to pretend that the “entire Palestinian public” is made up of the minority residing in occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Be sure, a Palestinian Authority leader preselected by the international community on the basis of his willingness to surrender to Israel’s insatiable demands, and not elected by the vast majority of Palestinians, has absolutely no mandate to negotiate away our rights and will never be able to do so.

This letter by EI co-founder Ali Abunimah was published in Ha’aretz on 9 January 2005