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Israeli Prison Service Denies Palestinian Security Prisoners TV Access to National Geographic

national geographic breakout

A scene from the National Geographic show, “Breakout.”

Some actions of the Israeli security state are profoundly disturbing and some are just plain stupid.  This is in the latter category.  The Prison Service has forbidden (Hebrew) Palestinian security prisoners from accessing the National Geographic cable channel.  What’s so dangerous about lions, tigers, bears and other animal critters featured on the nature/travel channel?  Apparently, National Geographic also features the show, Breakout, which recounts the most dramatic prison breaks in history and describes how the prisoners escaped and how law enforcement recaptured them.  Israel apparently believes their charges will get big ideas and act on them.  Maybe they’ll ride out of prison on the back of an African hippo…

It’s not clear how the skills necessary to break out of Alcatraz would translate to breaking out of Israel’s Megiddo Prison.

None of the geniuses in the Prison Service devoted any thought to non-security prisoners, who apparently may enjoy Breakout unfettered by such a ban.  Either regular Israeli criminal prisoners don’t break out of prison; or the Prison Service doesn’t care if they get any ideas from the show and make an attempt.

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Yair September 2, 2014, 1:52 PM

    News Flash – Terrorists get worse treatment than criminals. What a scoop! I wonder if Hamas treat their prisoners to cable TV…

    • Richard Silverstein September 2, 2014, 2:36 PM

      @ Yair: Make you a deal. You recognize Hamas & a Palestinian state with its own national prison system, then we’ll hold Hamas to the same low standards which the Israeli prison system observes. Deal?

      • Shmuel September 3, 2014, 5:36 AM

        The Palestinian Authority has its own prison system in the West Bank.
        Not convinced they have tv there. Maybe your Palestinian readers could enlighten us on that important point?

        • David September 3, 2014, 10:19 AM

          Shmuel — why is this an “important” point?

        • Elisabeth September 3, 2014, 11:06 AM

          Sigh. Do we have to spell it out for you Shmuel? “Average income in Israel is 20 times higher than in Palestine. Not 20%, but a staggering 2000%.” (http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html)

          I don’t know if Palestinian prisons have tv, but I don’t know if prisons in Ghana have either.
          You comment, coming from the affluent society you live in is arrogant and condescending.
          Do you get that?

          • Yair September 3, 2014, 12:32 PM

            [comment deleted: off topic & Islamophobia is prohibited in these threads.]

        • David September 3, 2014, 2:30 PM

          I still want to know why it is “important.” Is it important because it shows how critics “single out” Israel? Is it important because it will demonstrate that Israel rises to top with respect to the region, like the “only democracy” standard? (But Israel says it is not a regional country, despite the adoption of regional “sounding” names, that it is a Western democracy.) Is it important in order to prove that Jews are better than Palestinians, a point Bibi makes over and over?

          • Shmuel September 3, 2014, 7:02 PM

            David – hadn’t thought about your suggested reasons for calling it an ‘important’ point, but I’ll consider them.

            My reason was simple – this particular post seemed so important to clarify the depths of the IP conflict even to the point of discussing the tv content in prison (do they have 5% or 3% cottage cheese for supper would have been of more interest to me), that I couldnt resist a healthy dose of sarcasm and wonder about Palestinian prisons.

            I wonder if they don’t have tv there for financial reasons or maybe they feel that TV might be considered too much of a comfort in their view of criminology?

          • Richard Silverstein September 4, 2014, 1:30 AM

            @ Shmuel: It’s instructive when I publish a post in which Israeli officials behave ludicrously, instead of acknowledging this, Israel apologists point the finger everywhere but at themselves. So instead of saying: ‘yeah, these jackasses are idiots,’ then say “those Palestinian jackasses are just as bad.” Which is a non sequitur and off topic and boring. But hell, if that’s the best you & your government has to offer, then go for it & be judged on the pathetic responses you offer.

          • David September 3, 2014, 10:23 PM

            Shmuel — Considerations like the TV programming then are trivial and talking about such things is an indication of overreach in analyzing IP…or perhaps “stretching” for substance, yes? From my point of view, no observation is too trivial if it helps even a bit in understanding the National Security State, if only because whither goes the Israel Security State, so goes the American Security State. It might be interesting to see if the huge American population of incarcerates (1/4 of all imprisoned people on the planet) is also denied that particular show. Probably not. The US is really strong and well-positioned in the global environment. Israel is not.

          • Elisabeth September 3, 2014, 11:15 PM

            Shmuel, you don’t even know if they have tv or not. Why don’t you find out before posting more nonsense.

          • Richard Silverstein September 4, 2014, 1:32 AM

            @ Elisabeth: Poor Shmuel. Israel gives him so little to work with. You have to sympathize with his problem.

  • David September 2, 2014, 7:36 PM

    Why do these administrators do such pathetic and weak (as RS says “stupid”) things? I think the National SEcurity State, this particular Israel, does lots of things that suggest weakness, certainly moral weakness. Why terrorize children? Why arrest kids in the middle of the night with armed IDF crowding into the dwelling? Why? I think the answer is that Israel is fundamentally weak in the face of its opposition. The only reason for such total domination of another people is fear and that fear is just one facet of the basic moral weakness. Israel will always fear the knife at its throat because of what it has done. Dominating the other will not bring sound sleep.

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