The Curious Patchwork of Voting Rights in ‘Jerusalem’ – Mapped

So who exactly can vote in the next Israeli Knesset Election? Well, like most other countries, citizens who are eligible to vote.

But the reality of the electoral map of who can actually vote and who cannot looks decidedly odd in greater Jerusalem.

In our Curious Patchwork of Voting Rights in ‘Jerusalem’, we have mapped out the electoral geography or franchise of Greater Jerusalem to reveal a stark landscape of differential voting rights between Palestinian and Jewish communities.

In our first map ‘Knesset Voting Rights and Greater Jerusalem’ we deliberately strip away or erase the geography of artificial administration – the so called ‘Green Line’ (1949 armistice Line) and the municipal boundary of the city of Jerusalem – to reveal a stark and scattered patchwork of electoral voting rights and discrimination.

jerusalem votes

It is important to note that all of the well-defined neighbourhoods, suburbs, satellite towns or exurban commuting communities of Greater Jerusalem are either overwhelmingly, often almost exclusively, Palestinian or Jewish. Palestinian and Jewish communities may exist cheek-by-cheek (often separated by walls or checkpoints) but there are no real ‘Mixed’ communities in Jerusalem.

Our map reveals a scattered patchwork of Palestinian communities (Shown in Green), with concentrations in Ramallah to the north, east Jerusalem in the centre, and Bethlehem to the south, none of which are eligible to vote in the Knesset.

All Jewish neighbourhoods (Shown in Blue) – without exception- in Greater Jerusalem, irrespective of location, are eligible to vote in the Knesset.

The solitary Palestinian community in greater Jerusalem permitted to vote in the Knesset is the town of Abu Gosh. Abu Gosh located 12km west of downtown Jerusalem (shown in Yellow). Abu Gosh residents are citizens of Israel.

Irrespective of their eligibility to vote in Knesset elections, all of these residential neighbourhoods are subject to either the application of Israeli civilian of military law since 1967 – in other words there is really one one sovereign in control here since 1967, and that is the state of Israel.

In our second map below, Knesset and Municipal Voting Rights in Greater Jerusalem, we further disaggregate the greater Jerusalem patchwork of voting rights. We have jumbled up the colours.


jerusalem apartheid

This map shows a differential Jewish and Palestinian Patchwork of Knesset and Jerusalem (Municipality) voting rights in the greater Jerusalem area.

Overwhelmingly Jewish West Jerusalem and the finger dormitory settlement suburbs extending northward, Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Yaakov, are eligible to vote in both the country that governs them (Israel) in Knesset elections and in the municipal elections of the city of Jerusalem (Yellow).

The Palestinian communities and suburbs (Blue) further to the north (Ramallah), south (Bethlehem) and east of downtown Jerusalem are not permitted to vote in either Knesset nor in the Jerusalem municipal elections.

The outer ring of Jewish neighbourhoods (Green), including those scattered amongst these Palestinian communities, are all permitted to vote in Knesset elections.

Palestinian East Jerusalem (Red) is permitted to vote in Jerusalem municipal elections but excluded from voting in national Knesset elections.

Finally, the Palestinian town of Abu Gosh (Dark Blue), west of downtown Jerusalem, is permitted to vote in Knesset elections but not the Jerusalem municipal elections.

Where Jerusalem (Municipal Voting Rights) really begin and end would appear to rather elastic. Jerusalem municipal borders have radically changed over the past decades. They have been drawn – extended northwards and eastward into the occupied West Bank – to include as many Jewish, but exclude as many Palestinian, communities as possible.

Where Knesset Voting Rights begin, and end is altogether more simple, stark and discriminatory.

All Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are entitled to vote (Knesset Elections) in the state that controls their lives. All Palestinian communities in the West Bank are denied that vote next April 09th.


Note: Just How Segregated are these Palestinian and Jewish Communities:

The 2008 Israeli Census of Population tells us that the Palestinian town of Abu Gosh in Israel (pop. 5,800), located west of Jerusalem is 99.3% Muslim. The settlement of Beitar illit, located south-west of Jerusalem in the West Bank (pop. 32,900), is 100% Jewish, and West Jerusalem itself (pop. 244,300; Areas 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) is 97.2% Jewish. That 2.8% non-Jewish population of West Jerusalem is more likely to be made up of ex-soviet ‘Jewish’ immigrants not officially recognised as Jewish by Rabbinical Courts than it is by Palestinian citizens of Israel.

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