Where is the Palestinian Gandhi? In Israeli prison, of course!
By Jo Ehrlich | December 21, 2009
Palestinian Joke #134
Question: Where can Israel find the Palestinian Gandhi?
Answer: Exactly where they put him, in administrative detention.
Not that I’m in any way playing into the Palestinian Gandhi dialogue, I think its actually pretty diversionary/racist. But sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry right?
Jamal Juma’, the director of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, also known as Stop the Wall, was summoned for interrogation on the night of December 15th. Jamal has been detained by the Israeli military and has not had access to a lawyer since the 16th of December. I was in the Stop the Wall Office on the 15th of December. I said hi to Jamal. I’ve met him on a couple of occasions. He is a quiet man with a commanding presence.
I read the news of his arrest last night, sitting in the home of another non-violent Palestinian activist, Musa Abu Maria of the Palestine Solidarity Project. He was not surprised to hear about Jamal’s arrest. He told me the story of his first arrest and time in prison. An IDF commander showed up at his home and asked him to come with him for a few hours to talk over a cup of tea. Musa asked if he could have a minute to say goodbye to his family. He knew what tea and talk were code words for. He was nineteen years old.
If past actions set precedence and they do. Jamal will likely not be charged with any crime (because he has not committed one) but will be held in prison for a long time (interrogated, tortured) without charges. Israel does this through a process called administrative detention that allows the state to hold Palestinians for periods of three months at a time (renewable indefinitely) without charges.
Mohammad Othman, another Stop the Wall executive member has been detained by Israel since September. His first administrative detention order expires this week. Jamal is set to be brought in front of a judge today.
Mohammad, Jamal and many of the scores of other Palestinian’s with orders of administrative detention, are in Israeli prisons not because they have committed a crime but because they are non-violent anti-occupation activists. Israel has begun to understand that non-violent activism in Palestine is a serious threat to the occupation. Those engaged in non-violent struggle often have an excellent analysis, they are determined and they are gaining traction domestically and platforms for spreading their message internationally. It scares the shit out of Israel so it is not surprising that they are responding with repressive military actions. This is a military occupation and it maintains itself by using the tactics military oppression.