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An Israeli citizen is being held in administrative detention

An IDF legal advisor lies to a Knesset oversight committee, says no administrative detention orders were issued against anyone in Israel. It turns out not only did Defense Minister Ya’alon sign one such order, he forbade the detained Israeli citizen from seeing a lawyer.

By Noam Rotem (translated from Hebrew by Yossi Gurvitz)

Ayalon prison facility, near the city of Ramla (photo: Activestills)

Israel’s Ayalon Prison, (Illustrative photo by Activestills.org)

Two days ago, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee held an urgent hearing about the administrative restraining orders issued by the head of the Central Command (the IDF command responsible for the West Bank, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv coastal plain). During the lively debate, committee chairman MK David Rotem asked, “Was an administrative detention order issued against anyone in the State of Israel?”, to which the Central Command’s legal counsel replied, “No, no, no, no, no!” You can find a video of the hearing on the Knesset’s website. Unfortunately, it seems the IDF did not tell the Knesset the whole truth.

Screencapture from the Knesset video. From right to left: chief of staff of the Judea and Samaria Region, legal counsel to Central Command, representative of the Justice Ministry.

Screencapture from the Knesset video. From right to left: chief of staff of the Judea and Samaria Region, legal counsel to Central Command, representative of the Justice Ministry.

A reasonable person hearing those words would understand them to mean that Israel does not issue administrative detention orders against its own citizens. Such orders allow the government to incarcerate any person without due process, without the need to present evidence, and without the citizen being able to defend himself against these accusations – which often remain secret themselves. Why, then, would the bodies entrusted with denying a person’s liberty testify before the legislature that no such orders were issued against Israeli citizens, at the same time as an Israeli civilian has been held in Meggido Prison under an administrative detention order for three months?

Khaled Jamal Daoud is a young Israeli citizen who is the son of an Israeli mother and a Palestinian father, holds a blue Israeli ID card and who for the past few years has lived in Qalqiliya. In November 2013, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed an administrative order for his detention. Ya’alon also ordered that he be prevented from meeting an attorney. Nevertheless, one legal organization is claiming that its attorneys visited Daoud at least once. A Facebook page called “The news about Palestinian prisoners under occupation” published a laconic status update about the issue, which garnered two “likes.” Until yesterday, that was all that was published. An Israeli citizen was detained without trial three months ago, and nobody knew about it.

I’ll emphasize that aside from the general rubric of “security activity,” I don’t know why Daoud was detained; this is, however, immaterial. The very fact that an Israeli civilian is being held under administrative detention is important enough, worthy enough of a short report in the Israeli media. That did not happen until yesterday, when Walla reporter Amir Bukhbut published (Hebrew) a short report.

When the bodies empowered with these detentions — which are supposed to be under the oversight of four different bodies — sit in a Knesset committee and feed it misinformation about such a sensitive subject, we have a real problem on our hands. Administrative detention is the ultimate tool, to be used only when the state is willing to give up the rule of law for the sake of “security,” and must be under a strict oversight of all the legal institutes of the country. We cannot tolerate a situation in which citizens “disappear” and certain authorities hold back this information from other authorities and from the public. This is a red line that must not be crossed, even under a “state of emergency,” one we’ve been living in for 66 years. And it is yet another red line crossed on our way to losing the few remnants of the rule of law that are left.

Noam Rotem is an Israeli activist, high-tech executive and author of the blog o139.org, subtitled “Godwin doesn’t live here any more.” This piece was first published in Hebrew.

Related:
Administrative arrests: Months or years without due process
‘Prisoner X’ and the security elite’s unchecked power
Israel admits: Administrative detention unnecessary

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Not resident in the State of Israel, no order against such a resident was issued. Actually, I would not be surprised to discover that the US has done something similar under “extraordinary rendition,” which would actually be more opaque. Residency is not citizenship.

      I do not know the status of right of counsel in Israel. The whole point of extraordinary rendition was to deliver the captured to those outside US jurisdiction (it would, in my view, be wrong to do that to a US citizen since the original capture was by US authority, so counsel must apply). Here, however, Israel both captures and retains, retains on Israeli soil. If there is a right to counsel, it cannot in this case be denied.

      But you say there is one report of such a visit, against Defense Minister’s order. If true, it would mean that there is some residue–or confusion–concerning the right in lower administration.

      As Greater Israel expands, situations like this will also increase, in raw number and consequence. Long term, there will be pressure to partition Israeli rights by loyalty.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        “Long term, there will be pressure to partition Israeli rights by loyalty.”

        Already there.

        Long term, there will be pressure to disenfranchise all Arabs of their citizenship, regardless of their loyalty to the state. That is the natural progression Israel is undergoing in achieving its long-sought ethnic purity.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Danny, (a) define “ethnic purity”, (b) apply the definition to Israeli multi-ethnic make-up AND documented Israeli Government Policy re Multiculturalism/multi-ethnicity. Begin with “Operation Moses”. Do not forget to throw “Operation Solomon”, etc. into the mix. Tell us (C) why Israel spent hundreds of millions of dollars, airlifted tens of thousands of Africans into the country, granted them immediate citizenship and merged them into the already exiting Jewish Family in Israel and (d) if you still stand by your statement that Israel pursues “ethnic purity”. Don’t run away from the debate you started – “Danny the timid”.

          Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            Don’t forget that the last two winners of the Israeli X Factor were a Philippina guest worker and an female Arab singer.
            Or that Miss Israel is an Ethiopian Jewess. Or that the popular winner of the Israeli Big Brother is another Ethiopian Jewess. Let’s not forget that you can’t turn on the TV in Israel without seeing Dana International, a transgender, hosting a program.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      “I don’t know why Daoud was detained; this is, however, immaterial.” Wrong, sir! The reason for Daoud’s detention is not only material, but also the condition sine non qua for the case you seek to make. If you DO NOT know why Daoud is detained, you may NOT claim that he “is being held under administrative detention”. AND if you may NOT claim that he “is being held under administrative detention”, you may NOT claim that Israel “issue administrative detention orders against its own citizens” (plural).

      And if indeed Daoud “is being held under administrative detention”, it could be either that (a) he has lost his Israeli citizenship or (b) the authorities are mistaken as to his identity. I am NOT saying that Israel does or does not “issue administrative detention orders against its own citizens”. All I am saying is that your claim that it does is NOT evidence-based, yet. Try again. And be more responsible this time!

      Reply to Comment
      • Bullshit. Plain and simple.

        The Israeli Prison Service issues a monthly report about prisoners in custody. It lists one Israeli citizen in administrative detention. Naturally, it does not specify the reason.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          I see your response coming more from anger (“bullshit”, etc.) than reason. NOWHERE in your article did you mention the IPS-report to back up the claim you made. That’s inexcusably mediocre. And even now, you fail to verifiably link Daoud (who may have lost his citizenship, if he ever had on) to the person meant in that IPS-report (who might turn out to be of the “settlers” you love to hate!). That’s another serious sloppiness. Your original article simply PRESUMES that ANY detention, of which the reason(s) are not (immediately) publicly known, is ‘a priori’ an “administrative detention”. That’s a non sequitur and patently false. Your article also presupposes that ANY detention that does not lead to a trial must, BY NECESSITY, be an “administrative detention”. That, again, is a non sequitur and patently false. Again, try again, sir. And this time, be more responsible!

          Reply to Comment
    3. haifawi

      isn’t there also some settler being held incommunicado in a shabak prison or some sort? i dunno, it was all over arutz 7.
      and no ginger, it DOESN’T matter what these guys are charged with. if you use administrative detention, you AT LEAST need to say ‘this guy is under administrative detention.’

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        See my reply above to Mr. Gurvitz (to understand the crux of my argument).

        Reply to Comment
    4. The Trespasser

      “Was an administrative detention order issued against anyone in the State of Israel?”, to which the Central Command’s legal counsel replied, “No, no, no, no, no!”

      That’s not truth, sorry.

      The question was: “Were these orders [restraining or administrative detention] issued against any other Israeli citizens who live outside Yehuda and Shomron”.

      What legal counsel saying is “No, no, no, no, no! I was talking about Yehuda and Shomron”, as it can be somewhat clearly heard at 00:24:21 to 00:24:25,

      Besides that, at 00:23:00, 00:23:22 and 00:25:28 counsel approves that restraining and administrative detention orders were issued against Israeli citizens.

      For the ease of use it is recommended to open the file directly using Media Player Classic or VLC player.

      mms://212.235.5.241/committeeArchive/huka/huka_20142210555.asf
      http://mpc-hc.org/
      http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html

      Reply to Comment
    5. The Trespasser

      “Was an administrative detention order issued against anyone in the State of Israel?”, to which the Central Command’s legal counsel replied, “No, no, no, no, no!”

      That’s not truth, sorry.

      The question was: “Were these orders [restraining or administrative detention] issued against any other Israeli citizens who live outside Yehuda and Shomron”.

      What legal counsel is saying is “No, no, no, no, no! I was talking about Yehuda and Shomron”, as it can be somewhat clearly heard at 00:24:21 to 00:24:25,

      Besides that, at 00:23:00, 00:23:22 and 00:25:28 counsel approves that restraining and administrative detention orders were issued against Israeli citizens.

      For the ease of use it is recommended to open the file directly using Media Player Classic or VLC player.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Right. Even the ONE and ONLY major “evidence” offered by the author(s) does not support the chief allegations made in their article. Ordinarily professionals would make retractions/corrections re articles riddled with bad facts and faulty thought-process. One would hope that the authors would do same here, but I am not holding my breath.

        Reply to Comment
    6. First, reporting detainees in a monthly statement is not identical to blanket silence; indeed, one would assume that if the matter were to be kept extra legal toto, such a listing would have been avoided.

      As to the two translations provided of the crucial sentence:

      Trespasser’s “Were these orders [restraining or administrative detention] issued against any other Israeli citizens who live outside Yehuda and Shomron”. Means “against any other Israeli citizens who live outside the West Bank or Gaza.” “any other” is a strange formulation here, as it implies that the speaker had just been told, or detailed himself, that such an order had occurred. The piece itself has “Was an administrative detention order issued against anyone in the State of Israel?” which might be an equivalent to “outside of the West Bank and Gaza” under the restricted sense of Israeli society/politics (but not necessarily, as I believe an Arab Israeli was arrested while out of the country a few years ago). However, the use of “any other Israeli citizen” would obviate the point in favor of Trespasser unless Hebrew is ambiguous, allowing either the English construction “State of Israel” or some form of corporate “Israeli citizens.”

      In any case, the piece reports that the Defense Minister signed the order; unless this is a fabrication, the arrest was thus attested, with the proviso that it was secret until the monthly report. Generally, an arrest requires immediate access to an attorney. So it is not clear to me who is being less than totally forthcoming here. Perhaps both original author(s) and critics.

      I do not doubt that the State will want to preserve this detention tool either within Israel proper or in the West Bank. Nor do I doubt this especially so of Israeli citizens protesting while in the West Bank. The subterranean issue is immediate access to an attorney, which would entail reason for arrest, which, upon the report concerning the Minister’s order, was indeed to be suppressed, as the piece claims the Minister of Defense also orders a bar on attorney. This is a wholly different matter, and the crux. Similarly, the President of the High Court allowed for reduced term detention in his African Refugee opinion because the State must be allowed to detain in (real) emergency for short times. It is pretty evident in the present case, however, that the arrested Israeli living in the West Bank has no reason to expect the emergency he has stumbled into will be short term, and if an attorney is barred, has no reason to believe he exists legally save at the whim of the arresting agent.

      I cannot speak to the other point raised by Trespasser as I do not know Hebrew, that is, the other tape location. In any case, as it stands, I see, at worst, both writer and critic slanting material to meet their ideological needs.

      Reply to Comment
    7. The Trespasser

      Precise near literal translation from 00:24:11

      -When we are talking about administrative detention what we have is administrative detention of [applied to] Palestinian population.

      Crazy Settler Woman (background)
      -She is talking about terrorists! [mekhablim can be heard clearly, for time reference]

      Human Rights Defender (background)
      -I’m not talking about Palestinian population… I’m talking about Israelis…

      CSW (background)
      -You are talking about terrorists!

      (everyone is speaking at once, CSW is yelling something about Arab terrorists.)

      Chairman:[00:24:18]
      (Inaudible)

      MW can’t hear Chairman and Human Rights Defender and makes appropriate facial gestures and hand movements. [00:24:19]

      Chairman:[00:24:19]
      -…Israel issued once against anyone detention order like these… (inaudible)

      MW
      -No, no, no, no, no! I was talking about Yosh (Frequently used Hebrew shorthand for Yehuda and Shomron) [00:24:24 hands gesture]

      HRD (background)
      -That’s what I’m asking!…

      Reply to Comment
      • “Human Rights Defender (background)
        -I’m not talking about Palestinian population… I’m talking about Israelis…” : This fits with the article’s presentation.

        But:

        “Chairman:[00:24:19]
        -…Israel issued once against anyone detention order like these… (inaudible)

        MW
        -No, no, no, no, no! I was talking about Yosh (Frequently used Hebrew shorthand for Yehuda and Shomron) [00:24:24 hands gesture]

        HRD (background)
        -That’s what I’m asking!…”

        seems inconsistent with HRD’s first statement, for now he seems to be agreeing that the locus of his inquiry is Yosh. I suggest confusion do to the other speakers, and conclude that the interpretation of the event given in the article is not unreasonable yet not decisive. HRD wanted to expand the inquiry to all Israelis while

        Reply to Comment
        • I don’t know how I sent a partial comment. Here is the rest starting from “seems inconsistent with HRD’s…”:

          seems inconsistent with HRD’s first statement, for now he seems to be agreeing that the locus of his inquiry is Yosh. I suggest confusion do to the other speakers, and conclude that the interpretation of the event given in the article is not unreasonable yet not decisive. HRD wanted to expand the inquiry to all Israelis while MW kept focus on Yosh. From what you present, she did not say that no Israeli resident in Yosh has been detained; nor did she say one had been detained. If, however, the first sentence of the translation transcript is by MW

          “-When we are talking about administrative detention what we have is administrative detention of [applied to] Palestinian population.”

          This sentence, coupled with her last statement provided, does imply that only Palestinians are being so detained. However, she never actually says no Israeli is being detained. The article says

          “A reasonable person hearing those words would understand them to mean that Israel does not issue administrative detention orders against its own citizens.” And is not refuted by your transcript. However, you detail such a mess of noise that it need not be the only interpretation.

          I continue to think, given that 1) the detained Israeli appears on the monthly list and 2) apparently this list (or some other source) includes reference to a Defense Minister order which includes barring an attorney, that the rule issue here is not the detention but executive denial of the right to counsel. I would interpret MW not as an overt liar but as someone trying to keep focus in a noisy environment. And, as I said above, what is the point of lying when the name will be on the monthly list?

          I do not believe the author deserves the criticism of early comments. But, as an outside not dealing daily with these ideological battles, I would say “misinformation” is not the right focus, the citizen’s right of judicial review being better, which requires immediate access to counsel. The headline should have read “Defense Minister denies right of counsel to Israeli citizen.”

          When their is a riot, many people may be arrested and held without counsel interview until things quiet; that is an emergency requiring administrative detention upon citizens. But courts seek to provide arraignment hearing as soon as possible. In this reported case, however, there is no backlog to the judiciary at all; nor is the State, at any level, police, IDF, courts, or administration, overwhelmed by the process inducing the arrest. Rather, the Defense Minister muzzles the incarcerated by denying the first step, right of counsel. This is not about a Palestinian West Bank resident’s right of counsel; nor an Israeli citizen settler’s right of counsel, but rather a citizen with an Israeli mother but noncitizen father who lives outside present Israel proper, in the WB. Because he is seen as suspicious in the same sense as detained WB Palestinians, he is being denied his right to counsel or, if you like, due process for citizens. And this is the real point of this article.

          Thank you for presenting a transcript in translation. It is the only way to try and clear all this up.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            First sentense is by MW, that’s correct.

            >“A reasonable person…” And is not refuted by your transcript.

            Well, a reasonable Hebrew-speaking person would listen to the hearing from the beginning and to the end.

            As I mentioned earlier, state representatives at least four (4) times had approved that the State issues administrative orders (detention, restraining) not only against Palestinians but also against Israelis, which is why the settler woman was present – she is complaining that administrative restaining orders are issued against settler youth.

            >seems inconsistent with HRD’s first statement…

            It is related to Chairman’s question which clearyfied initial HRD’s question whether such orders are issued only against Palestinians inside Yosh but also to “people who live it other locations”.

            I’m sorry I did not transcripted more, but I could not suffer settler woman’s cries any longer.

            >However, you detail such a mess of noise that it need not be the only interpretation.

            That is only if one arbitrary rips out of context small parts of what people say during less than a minute of noise out of whole discussion which is lasting for over an hour.

            >When their is a riot…

            Well, there is a riot. An armed struggle to be exact.

            >…nor is the State, at any level, police, IDF, courts, or administration, overwhelmed by the process inducing the arrest. Rather, the Defense Minister muzzles the incarcerated by denying the first step, right of counsel.

            As it has been said during the hearings, the decision to issue such an order normally is being approved on many levels.

            As of right to counsel, in many countries it has been denied to alleged terrorists, at least until the end of the investigation.

            By the way, as it follows from UDHR Article 10, right for a fair trial must be only given to criminals.

            As it seems to me, terrorism, treason and such are not classified as criminal offences. A clarification would be appreciated.

            “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”
            http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a10

            >This is [rather] about … a citizen with an Israeli mother but noncitizen father who lives outside present Israel proper, in the WB.

            This is about a citizen of the state against whom there is a well-based suspitions, however, not provable in a court OR must remain undisclosed in due end of investigation, that he is engaged in terrorist activities and/or affiliates with groups which represent danger to other citizens of the state and the state herself.

            Assertion that he has been denied counsel because he is an Arab Jew is nonsensical. There are hundreds, if not thousands results of peace-making love in Israel, however only one has been detained in such way. Probably, because none of the rest had ever tried to harm the state?

            >Because he is seen as suspicious in the same sense as detained WB Palestinians, he is being denied his right to counsel or, if you like, due process for citizens.

            Said applies only to cases related to terrorism activities and state security.

            Palestinians who are detained in Israeli jails for car theft, burgalry, scams, drug dealing and other criminal offences are not facing any special restrictions.

            >And this is the real point of this article.

            The real point of this article is to make a story out of a non-story by means of deception, lies and propaganda.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Jan

      Would an Israeli Jew ever be held under the draconian administrative detention? Not very likely. In this “only democracy in the ME,” citizens who are not Jewish are far more likely to feel the wrath of the Israeli justice system. And I won’t even mention the fate of West Bank Palestinians under Israel’s military justice system.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Let me enlighten you, my racist friend:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Ben_Zygier

        >In this “only democracy in the ME,” citizens who are not Jewish are far more likely to feel the wrath of the Israeli justice system.

        In this onle democracy in the ME, citizens who are not Jewish are far more likely to try and harm the state and kill some Jews.

        >And I won’t even mention the fate of West Bank Palestinians under Israel’s military justice system.

        And who is guilty that during last 100 years or so West Bank Palestinian Arabs are trying to exterminate West Bank Palestinian Jews?

        Reply to Comment
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