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Israel prevents Palestinian-Venezuelans from voting

Oct. 7, 2012 5:55 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 8, 2012 8:40 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinians with Venezuelan citizenship were prevented from casting their vote in the country's presidential elections on Sunday because Israel withheld ballots from the Ramallah representative office, an official said.

"Venezuelan citizens were deprived of their natural and democratic right to participate in elections by a state which claims respect to human rights while denying another people their rights," head of Venezuela's representative office in Ramallah, Luis Daniel Logo, told Ma'an.

Hundreds of Palestinians with Venezuelan nationality went to the representative office to cast their votes, but found that Israeli authorities had not delivered the ballots to Ramallah.

The ballots had arrived in Israel from Venezuela on Sept. 14, and have since been inspected, Logo said. The representative office complied with all Israeli procedural requests but the required voting material was not delivered, he added.

"Even if the ballots arrive now, there will not be enough time for citizens to cast their votes."

Around 3,000 Palestinians in the West Bank have Venezuelan nationality but only 340 have the right to vote. The rest need to obtain identity cards from Venezuela but are prevented from traveling to the country by the Israeli government, Logo added.
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