Hamas and Islamic Jihad reportedly hold a total of about 250+ Israelis in Gaza. (Some have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.) The media likes to call them ‘hostages’, but they could more accurately be labeled either prisoners of war or political prisoners.
When Israel captures Palestinians, they are generally processed by military courts, where there’s no right to an attorney or to challenge the evidence (if there is any). Then comes ‘administrative detention’, incarceration based on an allegation that a person has committed, or plans to commit, an unspecified offense, which can be as trivial as making statements critical of Israel, displaying a Palestinian flag, or a youth throwing a stone at an Army tank — often labeled as terrorism. There’s no time limit, and some prisoners have been held for years. Human rights organizations have reported that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli are often subject to beatings and having food and water withheld. The total number of such prisoners is now estimated at more than 10,000, about half of whom were arrested in the last few weeks.
With few exceptions the double standard on prisoners is blatantly perpetuated by government officials and the media. Amanda Yee calls out this double standard on a segment on Breakthrough News. (Amanda is a journalist, an editor at Liberation News, and host of Radio Free Amanda:
- Journalist Calls Out Double Standard: 10,000 Palestinians Held Hostage by Israel | Breakthrough News, YouTube
Another obvious double standard is how violence is characterized: daily violence and killings by Israel are illegal under international law, but are excused by governments and media reports. Violence by Palestinians, on the other hand, is called ‘terrorism’ — although resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation is legal under international law. This was described by Queen Rania of Jordan in an interview with Christiane Amanpour: