Photo of the Week: To military court we go

Photo credit: Jean-Claude Coutausse
Date taken: December 1987
Location: Nablus, West Bank, Palestine

Palestinian youth are blindfolded and transported to an Israeli military court in the West Bank city of Nablus in the beginning days of the First Intifada. The face of a smiling Israeli officer reflects off the bus window.

The punchy photographs from Palestine in the late 1980s and early 1990s carry the weight of entire narratives and histories. This particular photograph summarizes one major Palestinian experience: arrest and detainment. Since 1967, 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel at least once, accounting for roughly one-fifth of the total population. Nearly one of every two Palestinian males has been imprisoned or held in administrative detention, most commonly without charge. It is by all accounts one of the most explicit forms of human rights abuse, and yet the system operates so freely and so openly. Blindfolded the Palestinians go, to a court designed to mock them and the very essence of universal human rights.

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