The Government That Got Thrown In Jail

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.


  • These are Hamas MPs. Hamas has clearly stated that they want to destroy Israel. In light of the recent events involving Hezbollah, another anti-Israeli group, do you seriously expect Israel to tolerate the prescense of these people?

  • Nazar, well if an eradication of a people can be based simply on an unwillingness to tolerate them, then Israel has been doing a bold job with the Palestinian population for 60 years.

  • “Eradication of a people”? Are you suggesting that Israel is practicing genocide? I certainly hope not, because that’s a blatantly untrue and malignant accusation.

    I’m all for democracy, and different groups coming together to hammer out their differences in a peaceful way, HOWEVER, to have a functioning democracy, the groups who participate must have several traits.
    1) Respect for women, religious and ethnic minorities,
    2) Respect for the rule of law and
    3) Recognize the right to free speech and freedom of expression.

    As we have seen in Lebanon, a group that does not subscribe to these traits can highjack its host nation, and make democracy a joke in that nation. Hamas by its nature violates at least one of the the traits I laid out, and therefore it should not be considered a legitimate group. If the Jordanians elect a group like this, which has stated that they want to end the existence of Israel, then they are clearly not mature enough as a society to have democracy.

    Also, don’t forget that Hamas dug an underground tunnel into Israel and captured an Israeli soldier.

  • i didnt say genocide, you did. but now that you have it’s an interesting word to consider in the context of home destructions, land grabs and annexations, illegal settlements on top of the rubble of palestinian homes, not to mention the killing. eradication has many faces.

    You’re three point definition is brilliant and i agree with it, but this is your definition of what a democracy is. Keep in mind america was called a democracy before the civil rights act. What about value for human life? hamas dug a tunnel to capture an israeli soldier…is that any more a violation of the massive killings, kidnappings, and assissinations that Israel has undertaken?

    Lastly, the existance of Israel is not an indication or a measuring stick of any nation’s maturity to practice democratic value. To say otherwise is simply a fallacy.

  • Nas, you said “eradication of a people.” Those were the words you used. You can condense that phrase very nicely into the word “genocide.”

    It would take me a lot of writing to refute all of your points about Israel’s supposed injustices on the Palestinians, so I’ll take on the most glaring one of them all-“land grabs and annexations.”

    Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. If any nation deserves to exist, it’s Israel. Especially, in light of what happened in the Holocaust, the existence of Israel is even more necessary. Most of the land that is now Israel was legally purchased from Arab owners through the Jewish National Fund back in the 1920s, and the British even promised the Jews a state after World War One, in no small part thanks to the overwhelming contributions to the war effort that the Jews in Israel made. If an imperialist power like Britain could carve up nations like Iraq and Jordan, what’s wrong with Israel? You don’t hear the Iraqis saying that the Jordanians stole their land. Of course, the Jordanians aren’t Jewish either, but I digress. Jews from Europe started to migrate to Israel in large numbers in the 1880s during the Russian pogroms, and that’s when a lot of Arabs also started coming to Israel, mostly because there were jobs to be had. Fast forward to the 1948 War Of Independence. That was when most Arabs actually left Israel of their own free will because they believed that Israel would lose and they didn’t want to be caught in the fighting. So you see, these “refugees” became refugeed thanks to the invading Arabs, not Israel.

    Today, in America, if a politician makes a racist or sexist comment, they would be voted out of office so quickly that they would leave a dust trail. Look what happened to Trent Lott when he said that “blacks would ruin the country if they took over”. This is one of the reasons why America is a functioning democracy. You mentioned the Civil Rights Act. This was an affirmation that blacks and other minorities deserve respect and are entitled to the same rights as everyone else in America. This is the kind of thing that needs to happen in countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, etc.

    You said “Lastly, the existance of Israel is not an indication or a measuring stick of any nation’s maturity to practice democratic value.”
    I think you misunderstood me. I wasn’t referring to the existence of Israel in particular, but to the willingness of a nation or an ethnic group to tolerate neighbors, even disagreeable ones. In this case, its the Palestinians’ willingness, or lack thereof, to tolerate Israel. In America’s case, it would be our willingness to tolerate Canada or Mexico, or Cuba, a communist country.

  • i really dont know whether to laugh or cry, or perhaps both at the same time.

    i especially loved the part where hundreds of thousands of people suddenly woke up one day and chose to leave! palestinians are also to blame for the holocaust, did you know that?

    i could spend the whole day arguing all your points but i know it would be futile wouldnt it? suffice to say what a sad time we live in when people are prepared to swollow lies over historical truths simply to attempt to alter the reality of the greater and prevailing truths that refuse to go away.

Your Two Piasters: