According to international law and even the Israeli legal system, no one should be detained for their political beliefs. However, this is not the reality in the occupied Palestinian territories. Elected Palestinian political leaders are arrested and detained regularly as part of Israel’s effort to hinder Palestinian political processes, leading to the stifling of Palestine’s political sovereignty and independence. Such arrests have recently been focused on parliamentarians who are linked in some way to Hamas.
There are currently about 4,500 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons; 178 are held without charges and 15 are Hamas members of the Palestinian equivalent of a parliament, the Legislative Council. In recent weeks, Hamas sympathisers have been the target of an arrest campaign as Israel tries to destabilise Palestinian politics and the relatively peaceful rapport between the rival main parties, Hamas and Fatah.