Saturday, August 4, 2007

Palestinian Lawmakers Still Held Hostage in the Israeli Gulag

The latest report from B'Tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) has a wonderful broadside against Israel's policy of "administrative detention" for Palestinian lawmakers. As the report points out, Israel has been holding 22 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council hostage since last summer. These men were not arrested because they constituted a threat to Israel nor because they had committed any crimes. Rather,

Major-General Yair Naveh, OC Central Command, said that the decision to arrest senior Palestinian officials was made by the political echelon and that they would be released upon the release of Gilad Shalit

The report goes on to to quote then-defense minister Amir Peretz, who said "the arrest of those heads of Hamas is to show the military organizations that we demand that the firing stop." In other words, these are political arrests that are being carried out by the judicial system because then Israel doesn't have to answer any questions. In the immortal words of George Galloway:"They hold thousands of Lebanese kidnapped in their dungeons!"