A few bits of interesting news concerning Hamas caught my attention this morning. Apparently there are about 10 cabnit members of the new Hamas government who are stuck in Israeli jail, so their representation? Life-sized photographs propped up in their respective seats. They are amongst 9,000 Palestinians in jail.
In a 1999 survey conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 45% of Palestinian males under the age of 40 said they had been in jail at some point in their lives. [source]
Some of them are there for helping to plot bomber missions. Some for flying the Palestinian flag or displaying pictures of Arafat or throwing stones (before Oslo these things could get you jailed). As many as 700 are held under ‘administrative detention’; without a charge. At least 2000 children have been imprisoned since the second intifada began (5% of total Palestinian prisoners are under the age of 18).
Analyst Toufic Hadad says electing prisoners to parliament “is a fitting symbol for what the Palestinian people truly are – an imprisoned nation, fighting for their freedom”.
Today the Israeli police detained another cabnit member
Ã¢??Khaled Abu Arafa, minister of Jerusalem affairs, was arrested on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, the officials said.
Hamas said Mr Abu Arafa, a resident of the city, had been detained several times by Israel in the past. Mr Arafa was detained at a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Azaria, a suburb of East Jerusalem, news agencies reported. His bodyguard told the BBC that their car was stopped and the minister asked for his papers. There was some altercation and the minister was arrested. [source]Ã¢?Â