ACRI: Administrative Detention should not be used against Palestinians or Israeli settlers

The Israeli human rights organization, ACRI [Association for Civil Rights in Israel] has testified to the Israeli Knesset’s Constitution Committee on 5 January that it is against the use of Administrative Detention — either against Palestinians, as is now the case, under the system of military regulations imposed in the West Bank by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, or against Israelis [whether Yeshiva students sent to run riot, or settlers carrying out what they call “price tag” attacks against Palestinians, or against the Israeli military’s “Civil Administration”].

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu explicitly raised the possibility of using Administrative Detention against “rioters” — this is understood to mean, including Israelis — in a statement made at one of the regular Sunday cabinet meetings a few weeks ago.

The invocation of measures authorized by military regulations [developed for use in the West Bank, and formerly also in Gaza], now, against “rioters” is currently understood as meaning the radical religious-nationalist right, particularly but not exclusively settlers. But it could presumably also be applied at those Israelis who demonstrate in solidarity with Palestinian demands — and perhaps also against international solidarity types as well.

Netanyahu got the approval of government ministers on 14 December for the proposal [see below] to extend military regulations to people other than Palestinians — and the measures include the use of Admininstrative Detention, trials [such as they are] in military courts, as well as expulsion from “various areas”.

    UPDATE: On Sunday 8 January, the New York Times reported here, “Israeli prosecutors on Sunday charged five radical Jewish settlers with tracking troop movements in the West Bank and organizing a raid on an Israeli Army base there last month. The indictment was the first sign of a promised crackdown on settlers whose increasingly provocative actions have been described by some Israeli officials as homegrown terrorism … But it was the civil Jerusalem District Court [n.b. – and NOT the Israeli miltary court system in the West Bank] that indicted the five on Sunday. The indictment said that all were residents of Judea and Samaria, the biblical names for the West Bank … They were charged with, among other things, operating a hot line to collect reports on troop and police movements in the West Bank, distributing the information and calling on supporters to be at specific locations to thwart attempts by Israeli forces to evacuate outposts. Some reports of troop movements were based on information received from soldiers on active duty, according to the charges. The suspects were also charged with illegally holding intelligence material like classified aerial photographs and maps of areas of the West Bank. One of the five, Akiva HaCohen, has long been considered an architect of the ‘price tag’ doctrine. He and three others among the five have been served administrative orders in the past barring them from the West Bank for certain periods”.

    The NYTimes story, by Isabelle Kershner, also reported that “Israeli leaders have expressed growing alarm at the actions by the settlers, including arson attacks against several mosques. But the December attack on the army base shocked much of country and drew a strong condemnation from leaders of the settler establishment, not least because the Israeli Army is responsible for protecting the settlements in the West Bank. According to the indictment, the military was planning to dismantle an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank called Mitzpe Yitzhar on the night of Dec. 12. But the prosecutors said that the evacuation was thwarted by the five suspects who organized the raid on the army base, during which dozens of settlers broke in, rioted, blocked the entrance with rocks and burning tires, and damaged military vehicles. A deputy brigade commander was injured when he was struck on the forehead. The same night, extremists stopped a car driven by a local Israeli commander and threw a brick at him. The forces that had been deployed to dismantle the outpost ended up being diverted to handle the disturbances”.

ACRI, in a letter dated 1 January that was submitted with their testimony to the Knesset Constitution Committee [on 5 January], stated that:

    “We wish to emphasize that we reject the proposals to expand the use of injurious tools [law] enforcement liable to violate human rights and the proper criminal process to which all those suspected and/or accused of breaking the law are entitled. Various reports suggest that the law enforcement agencies have decided to use injurious means, such as administrative detention and removal orders, preventing defendants’ right to review the prosecution material, and so forth. We believe that such injurious means of enforcement should not be employed – neither against Palestinians nor Israelis. [emphasis added] Instead, proper criminal proceedings should be followed that ensure the full rights of suspects and defendants to dignity, liberty and due process. Insofar as there is a shortage of tools for enforcement, personnel, and so forth, it must be ensured that the security and law enforcement agencies are allocated such resources as necessary in order to enable them to pursue investigations, detentions, indictment and trials that maintain the rights of suspects and defendants”.

Continue reading ACRI: Administrative Detention should not be used against Palestinians or Israeli settlers

Because the Qalandia Checkpoint still stands …

Because the disgraceful Qalandia Checkpoint still stands — a monstrosity that defies easy description, mostly because of disbelief that anything could be deliberately made so bad — as we enter a new year, we will call attention to it, yet again.

Today, we will leave aside the awfulness of all other passage through Qalandia Checkpoint, and focus just on the issue of pedestrian crossing of Palestinians from the West Bank of those who need to be at work, or who have any other appointment early in the day on the other side.

Here is a video compilation comparing the situation facing of people [yes, human beings] waiting to get through the checkpoint in January 2008, and again on another morning in December 2011, nearly 4 years later. The video — prepared by friends at Machsom Watch, the organization of Israeli women for human rights — was posted on the Mondoweiss blog on 24 December by Adam Horowitz [Co-Editor of] here.

It can also be watched on Youtube here:

Horowitz wrote about it on his post on Mondoweiss, simply saying: “As you watch this video keep in mind that the Qalandia checkpoint is not a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. Like most Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories, Qalandia is located squarely in Palestinian territory”…

For Israel, Qalandia Checkpoint — and a stretch of the road further north going from Jerusalem towards Ramallah — is within the boundaries of the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality” — a unilateral composite extension of “Jerusalem” in late June 1967, several weeks after the Israeli military conquest of the area in the June 1967 Six-Day war.

For Palestinians, for the United Nations, and for most European and many other countries, Qalandia Checkpoint is within the West Bank — as defined by the UN-negotiated cease-fire lines of 1949 [later known as the Green Line], which is not quite exactly, but still largely, the same line across which Israeli and Jordanian forces faced each other until 4 June 1967.

As such, according to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory“, posted here, in English + French, which was developed in response to a request from the United Nations General Assembly after Israel started building The Wall in mid-2002, and which was handed down by the ICJ in the Hague on 9 July 2004:

    “In the light of the material before it, the Court is not convinced that the construction of the wall along the route chosen was the only means to safeguard the interests of Israel against the peril which it has invoked as justification for that construction.[141.] The fact remains that Israel has to face numerous indiscriminate and deadly acts of violence against its civilian population. It has the right, and indeed the duty, to respond in order to protect the life of its citizens. The measures taken are bound nonetheless to remain in conformity with applicable international law.

    [142.] In conclusion, the Court considers that Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defence (or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall resulting from the considerations mentioned in paragraphs 122 and 137 above. The Court accordingly finds that the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international lawContinue reading Because the Qalandia Checkpoint still stands …