Jailhouse Election Rock

The West Bank and Gaza Strip are in the middle of a week of registering voters for the upcoming Palestinian elections. These elections present to the Middle East an opportunity interconnected with a risk. The threat of a violent extremist government in the Palestinian Authority (PA) versus the rise of legitimate overall leader of the Palestinian people are the two ends of the spectrum of results. Regardless of the outcome, it will have an immense effect on Israel and the surrounding nations.

In The State of Israel the law dictates that all people have a right to vote, including jailed felons. In The United States voting rights of prisoners are a state by state issue and may vary according to the state. In the PA the voting and candidacy rights of citizens that have been arrested by the State of Israel are not only granted, but are also a defined goal of the election committee.

On the PA’s election committee’s website, under “The Elections Under The Occupation” there is a sub-section depicting “Participation of Prisoners in the Elections“. The sub-section depicts the history of prisoners voting and running for office from inside Israeli prisons. The facts are that there are current members of the PA’s parliament who had been elected while in prison, have not left the prison boundaries and are running for re-election.

Would you vote for someone who has been imprisoned?

About the Author
Agam is a Computer Science and Middle Eastern Studies student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Other than wanting world peace he also dabbles in making his community a better place.