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Palestinian Prisoners in Israel

12:00 Oct 4 2011 Israeli prisons

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Abeer Baker and Anat Matar (eds.), Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel. London: Pluto Press, 2011.

There are many harrowing passages in the excellent new edited volume by Abeer Baker and Anat Matar on the processes of administrative detention and imprisonment of Palestinians in Israel; some of them are even in the book’s academic chapters. But the most harrowing, and paradoxically the most hopeful, is the account Osama Barham gives of his endless arrests, detentions, and interrogations. These began in 1979—when he was detained for flying the colors of Palestine in a flag partially made of his mother’s blouse—and ended in 2008, when he was released after a five-year sentence. In the interim, he has been held in detention or in prison (and the distinction is important, as I will describe below) for anything from eighteen days to seven years on separate occasions.

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