Amira Hass explains horrifying implications of the amendments to Israeli military order 1651

There is a lot that happened that is not public in the negotiations to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit [seized near Gaza in June 2006], in exchange for the release of some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners [in 2 lots].

And there is a lot that was not publicly reported, or well-explained.

Amira Hass wrote in Haaretz today that some of it amounts to “another act of sabotage and erosion of principles of fair process by military law”.

Her article, posted here, and entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent”, focuses on rearrests, by the IDF and by the Shin Bet security agency, of some of the Palestinian prisoners released in the exchange for Shalit, who was allowed to go out from Gaza in October 2011. The re-arrests are justified by claims that the Palestinian ex-prisoners had violated the conditions of their release — conditions that are either unclear or possibly secret. The evidence that these ex-prisoners had violated these secret conditions is also secret.  She explained:
“The military legislators took a page from civil law, borrowing the damaging clauses concerning releasing prisoners with suspended sentences. At the same time, they ignored the balances in civilian law. They copied from the tradition of administrative detention (imprisonment without trial), and more than anything else, were inspired by the rage of political and defense officials, who believed Hamas managed to twist their arm. Thus, in 2009, two changes were made to the security decree clauses 184 and 186, and decree 1651, which deals with reprieves.

And this is how we have a military release committee, consisting exclusively of officials from the same apparatus that convicted the prisoner in the first place (and does not include social workers or education officials, as its civilian counterpart does.) In fact, the military law allows the arrest of a person until a military release committee decides if an offense has been committed (a civilian committee has no authority to arrest people), with automatic punishment and no need for a conviction.

The IDF and Shin Bet can hide behind ‘confidential evidence’, just as in administrative detention, but without the judicial review every several months, and we also have the committee’s lack of power of discretion: The committee, according to new changes in the decree and in contrast to a civilian committee, must return the released prisoner to jail for the entire term.

And even if a new indictment is submitted, based on new evidence; and even if the offense is not considered serious by the occupying power’s laws, who tend to see every Palestinian as guilty unless proved otherwise, and create offenses from seemingly daily actions such as talking to someone in the grocery store or participating in a demonstration; if convicted, the released prisoner will be sent back to prison, possibly for decades”.

This is more than chilling.

Continue reading Amira Hass explains horrifying implications of the amendments to Israeli military order 1651