Hostages: Learning from Israel

by Norman Finkelstein, published on his website, October 7, 2023

The crocodile tears have begun over Israeli hostages taken by Gaza militants.  But Israel has held the 2.1 million people of Gaza, including one million children, hostage in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet for nearly 20 years.  In fact, Israel was the only country in the world to have legalized hostage taking.  Revered President of the Israeli High Court Aharon Barak held in 1997 that “a detention is legal if it is designed to promote State security, even if the danger to State Security does not emanate from the detainees themselves,” and that “detention … for the purpose of release of … captured and missing soldiers is a vital interest to the State.”  (The decision wasn’t reversed until 2000.) If the past is any guide, Gaza’s leadership will swap the Israelis for some of the 4,500 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons on alleged “security grounds.”  Gaza is only playing by the book written by Israel.

“All the chorus of calumny, which the Party of Order never fail, in their orgies of blood, to raise against their victims, only proves that the bourgeois of our days considers himself the legitimate successor to the baron of old, who thought every weapon in his own hand fair against the plebeian, while in the hands of the plebeian a weapon of any kind constituted in itself a crime.”     Karl Marx, The Civil War in France

*Featured Image: Palestinians protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners inside Israel on a hunger strike, 2012 CNN

Share the love


  1. The history of the Muslim Arabs did not start in 1949! Your views are not valid as the history is few thousand years old and is well documented. The Muslim Holy Book does not promote love and peace towards non-Muslims and historically the Muslims have used certain passages to justify murdering Christians and Jews.

    1. Islam has only been around for about one and a half millennia. Prior to that, there were a number of tribes who were racially the same. The Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all religions (or, ideologies) that developed in that region. The practitioners were not different ‘peoples’. The people we know as Palestinians are the direct progeny of those who have continuously inhabited that region. It is their homeland just as France is the homeland of the French and Poland is the homeland of the Polish people. In fact, prior to the zionist incursion, Palestinian Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in peace and harmony.

      Trying to sort out who should live there according to a book of tribal histories written over thousands of years by one tribe and the followers of one religion is ridiculous.

      The Muslim Empires spread Islam through conquest, among other ways. But, Islam identified followers of Christianity and Judaism as “people of the book”, i.e. as brethren. These people had a special tax levied on them, but they were not otherwise persecuted.

  2. As the demagogy from imperialism escalates using children as their cover for terror, google will not give me access to the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics or to the Ministry of Information in Ramallah to get the true statistics on the deaths of Palestinian children. Some years ago the Ministry of information at Ramallah were able to publish statistics from 2000 to 2013 of 1518 child deaths from Israeli occupation or one Palestinian child killed every three days for thirteen years non stop. Need to update this and let the public know the truth to counter the Anglo-American-Atlantic imperialist disinformation hysteria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
26 + 18 =