Sounds like society’s wet dream for political accountability; politicians you can just throw in jail. But this is far from the case here. Israel has just detained yet another senior member of Palestinian parliament. Mr Ramahi is the fourth-ranking official in the Palestinian legislature. He joins over 30 MPs of his party in jail including Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Al-Shaer, Parliament Speaker Aziz Dweik as well as 8 other ministers and 26 politicians on June 28th. Dweik was however removed from his jail cell and hospitalized; it’s said that he was beaten.
It’s only been 8 months but at this rate Palestinians will have to go back to the voting booths this January since their entire government will have been thrown in Israeli jails.
But I suppose that’s all right, Palestinians are already teaching Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, that you can still have a ‘functioning’ government when your enemy imprisons all your politicians. Already 15 of those that did win seats are in Israeli jails; when Parliament is in session they just put a poster of them on their seats. Isn’t democracy beautiful?
Palestinian politicians not in jail are going to become a rarity in the Occupied Territories. The numbers are just simply against them. Palestinians are one of the most detained nations on Earth. Of the 3.6 million population, over 600,000 have been held in Israeli jails between one week to life since 1967. Israeli Human Rights organization Btselem estimates that 80% of Palestinian prisoners are tortured. The Palestinian Prisoner Society counts no less than 106 Palestinians who have been killed or died during interrogation, hunger strike or as a result of poor medical treatment.
But if you are a Member of Parliament and you do manage to survive, Israel throws in a gold watch for your retirement (but just between you and me, I think it’s a fake).
In the meantime, more posters.