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