There’s a lot more that can be said on this, of course. For example, the diverse reasons that so many Palestinians have been imprisoned, some justly and others not: from participating in heinous mass murders to offenses that should not be cause for imprisonment, e.g., merely being a member of Hamas.
Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
So Ms. Bates goes from the “have been detained” of her source to “have served time in jail.” “Detained” by police can mean detention of a few minutes or hours to much longer. Not a distinction that Ms. Bates will entertain. This switch — from detention in her source to imprisonment in her text — is enough to destroy any and all credibility of her piece. And, we must conclude, this is not a matter that the learned Rabbi who is in charge of Tikkun would care to investigate.
There is also something breathtakingly vague about the computation of that twenty-percent figure. A percentage computation requires a numerator — in this case the number of prisoners — and a denominator — in this case the population. When Addameer speaks of the Palestinian population “since the beginning … in 1967,” just which population figure does it have in mind ? In the last forty four years many have died, many were born. Does Addameer include in its population the total of all these lives and births and deaths ? Or only the population at one point in time ? If it is the latter, as the context suggests, then the denominator is artificially diminished, leading to an artificially inflated percentage figure. Of course all this asumes that we can trust the original raw figures, which we cannot. But even if they were trustworthy, the computational errors would vitiate the results.
Does either Ms. Bates or her self-styled rabbinic supervisor care about such detail ? Apparently not.
2. The case of Ameer Makhoul
Most of Ms. Bates’s piece is taken up by the case of Palestinian convict Ameer Makhoul. Ms. Bates’s take on the case is that it is a matter of unjust imprisonment for strictly political reasons, citing Amnesty International and a variety of pro-Palestinian sources. She writes about 500 words on this case, charging forced confessions and other such matters. She also reports that Makhoul is now involved in a hunger strike, etc. But nowhere in her piece does she mention that Makhoul in fact agreed to a plea bargain in which he admitted espionage against Israel. The facts were reported in Haaretz, and were certainly available to Ms. Bates. Why does she suppress them in her reporting ?
Ms. Bates suggests that Makhul was victimized because he supports a boycott of Israel, and she cites the recent anti-boycott legislation in Israel as somehow relevant to his case. Like others, she distorts this legislation (see my blog on this, and also that of NGO MONITOR).
But her overall charge is really against the Israeli system of justice as a whole: it is unjust, period. To believe this proposition, which is also endorsed by Mr. Ralph Seliger and other Jewish “progressives,” one would have to be so biased against Israel (and the Jewish people) as to simply overlook the internal inconsistencies and obvious distortions of those who advance it.