Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh has been detained without charge by Israeli officials since February 16 at the Allenby Bridge checkpoint between Jordan and the West Bank. Saba’aneh, a popular editorial cartoonist for “Al-Hayat al-Jadida,”s the Palestinian daily newspaper, is also head of public relations at the Arab American University in Jenin. His imprisonment has sparked an international outrage.
The Cartoon Movement, a global cartoonist collective, Cartoonists Rights Network International and Reporters Without Borders have joined in an effort to have Saba’aneh released. It’s hard to imagine cartoonists getting into an uproar, but like most artists, they’re often the voice of the people.
I was surprised to learn that Israeli law allows for the detainment of foreigners without charge; mere suspicion can induce imprisonment. I suppose if I happen to find myself in downtown Tel-Aviv and ask for a BLT, I could end up in the slammer. Damn! For just that?! In such a hostile society, anything can happen.