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On the Kidnapping of the Palestinian Government

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Subject:        On the Kidnapping of the Palestinian Government
Date:   Tue, 22 Aug 2006 22:50:49 +0300

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Meanwhile, Israel's kidnapping of the members of the democratically
elected Palestinian cabinet and legislature -- dozens of them, mostly
from their homes during the night -- goes on. The Western media, to the
extent that it even deems such behavior (inconceivable in any other
international context) newsworthy, tends to describe such
midnight snatches by a foreign country's military forces as "arrests".
No one suggests that such kidnappings might be acts of war justifying
the retaliatory slaughter of over a thousand Israeli civilians and the
infliction of billions of dollars of damage on the Israeli
infrastructure and economy ... as when Israeli soldiers are "kidnapped"
in military actions. No one suggests that Palestinians might, if they
could, be justified in fighting back -- or even defending themselves --
in any manner. No one suggests that such outrages make a mockery of the
West's professed attachment to "democracy" and "human rights".

Words fail me. Phrases like "rabid racism" and "moral bankruptcy" are
inadequate in the face of such outrages -- and silence.

_Last update - 17:26 22/08/2006 Haaretz.

   _IDF court charges Palestinian parliament speaker with membership in
   outlawed organization_

_By The Associated Press

The Palestinian parliament speaker was led in shackles into an Israel
Defense Forces court Tuesday and charged with membership in an outlawed
organization - becoming the most senior of three dozen top Hamas
officials rounded up by Israel to be indicted so far.

The speaker, Abdel Aziz Duaik, said he does not recognize the court's
authority. "It is a political trial, and I don't recognize it," Duaik
said. "I am an elected official."

Duaik was brought into the courtoom in the Ofer Prison Camp with his
feet shackled. He wore a brown pajama-style outfit, and his normally
long beard was trimmed.

The military prosecutor charged Duaik with membership and activity in an
outlawed organization. It was not immediately clear how many years he
could face in prison. The next hearing was set for August 31.

The prosecutor said that at one point, Duaik called Hamas ' supreme
leader, Khaled Meshal, and asked for large sums of money. However, that
allegation was not part of the indictment.

In all, Israel has arrested 30 Hamas lawmakers and five Cabinet
ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer, in recent
weeks. Duaik said Shaer became his cellmate Monday.

Duaik's lawyers complained that he was being held in unsanitary
conditions and that his cell was full of cockroaches. Duaik was arrested
earlier this month.

At one point, he was taken to a Jerusalem hospital after complaining of
chest pains. His lawyers said he also has a kidney problem.
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