Following the last Knesset Elections in 2015 the popular Israeli news agency Ynet mapped out the 2015 Knesset results for all of Israel – and the West Bank. It’s an invaluable and intriguing map. But something doesn’t look quite right or at least something is very clearly missing.
In the absence of electoral constituencies (Israel almost uniquely has none), the Ynet identified the voting preference (via a pie chart) of all the major Israel population centres – cities, towns, villages, kibbutzim and moshavim, etc. This includes the vast majority of Israeli settlements of the West Bank.
The map delineates the Green Line by a grey dotted line. The map, cartographically at least, suggests a comparable electoral geography both west (Israel proper) and east of the Green Line (West Bank).
The empty grey space between the cities and towns and villages imply there are no residents and thus no voters. In Israel proper this is essentially true. This grey space may include a tiny number of isolated single homes or farmsteads. rural settlement geography in Israel tends to be in the form of clustered, relatively homogenous communities. These are shown on the map.
This of course is not the case in the West Bank. In the vast, empty grey space in the West Bank between the Jewish settlements and isolated outposts there are residents but no voters. Here reside 2.7 million stateless Palestinian residents who are not entitled to vote in the state (Israel) which controls their lives. The map inevitably, perhaps conveniently, obscures the political reality of the lack of voting rights for the Palestinian population of the West Bank.
One can argue – what else could they do – those 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank can’t and didn’t vote. But that’s whole the point – they couldn’t. They are rendered invisible surrounded by hundreds of thousands of settlers in dozens of settlements who could.
Ynet makes invisible the overt ethnic electoral gerrymandering of the Israeli State.
Suggestion to Ynet next time – why not include all major Palestinian cities and towns and simply add “The residents of this city are not permitted to vote”.