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Administrative detention being used to push controversial 'terror law'

A new bill that paves the way for putting Israeli citizens in administrative detention could one day affect activists, human rights workers, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

By Sawsan Khalife’

A week after the Shin Bet recommended that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon sign off on administrative detention for two Jewish Israelis following the attack in the Palestinian village of Duma, he also recommended the Knesset pass an “anti-terrorism bill.”

Soldiers arrest a masked settler (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Soldiers arrest a masked settler (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The bill, which has been sitting on the shelf of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, authorizes the defense minister to use administrative detention without the standard prerequisite of declaring a “state of emergency” (which has been in place, essentially, since Israel’s founding). The law refers specifically to the administrative detention of Israeli civilians, since Palestinians in the occupied territories already live under a military regime.

The law will allow the court 48 hours to review the confidential evidence at hand, while the suspect will be denied the right to know the charges against him or her. Then the court will decide whether it approves or rejects an administrative detention order of up to six months, with the possibility for extension.

Different versions of this law have been discussed over the past several years in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Until the dissolution of the last Knesset in December, a number of discussions on the bill dealt only with the question of defining a “terrorist act.” According to the bill, a terrorist act is carried out of political, ideological, religious, or racist motivations. It is also an act that intends to inspire fear among the public in order to place pressure on the government to act or cease acting a certain way.

This general definition can easily be used as a means of blocking any type of struggle against government policy, social or otherwise. The use of administrative detention against settlers is a slippery slope, which could one day affect social activists, human rights workers, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Administrative detention is a violation of basic human rights. It is the detention of a person for an undefined period, which denies them the right to trial, knowledge of the charges or even hearing the evidence presented against them (if there was satisfactory evidence, the suspect would have formally been brought to trial).

There are approximately 400 Palestinians currently in administrative detention. Approximately 400 Palestinians are sitting in Israeli prisons without trial or release date. That is, until the attack on Duma. Following the fire-bombing of the Dawabshe house, a number of Israeli Jews have joined those 400 Palestinians, under order by the defense minister and the attorney general. There are those who claim that the practice is more fair now that Ya’alon has placed a few settlers under administrative detention, who may or may not have any connection to the attack in Duma. Look, they say, Palestinians aren’t the only terrorists posing a threat to the security of the state — now Jews will be receiving similar treatment. What they really mean to say is: Israel is an egalitarian democracy, which violates human rights in an equal manner.

The superior status of the settlers in comparison to the Palestinians, however, will not disappear because five settlers are currently in administrative detention. This step doesn’t change a thing in the West Bank, rather it only constitutes a step toward violating civil rights, especially those of Palestinian citizens.

According to reports by human rights NGO Yesh Din, less than two percent of the attacks carried out by settlers against Palestinians have led to indictments or convictions. This statistic certainly does not deter settlers from carrying out further attacks. A week after the arson in Duma, another home in the village was attacked.

Prepared to die for a right to trial

Administrative detainees, along with human rights activists, have tried everything in their power to put an end to the practice — including turning to international institutions — to no avail. The struggle against administrative detention has led the leadership of Palestinian political prisoners to organize mass hunger strikes in the hope of putting pressure on the government. Some of the hunger strikes also included individuals who were not in administrative detention, but were tried in court and denied privileges such as family visitations, being allowed to walk in the outdoor yard, or other basic rights.

Administrative detainees starve themselves in order to demand that an indictment be filed against them and that they be given a fair trial, or be released. How absurd! A man is prepared to die for the right to a trial.

Palestinian Khader Adnan, who staged a 56-day hunger strike against his administrative detention in Israeli prison, lies in Makassed hospital near his wife, East Jerusalem, July 16, 2015. Adnan, 37, was released before dawn on July 12, 2015 and is receiving treatment for the medical consequences of his hunger strike. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

Palestinian Khader Adnan, who staged a 56-day hunger strike against his administrative detention in Israeli prison, lies in Makassed hospital near his wife, East Jerusalem, July 16, 2015. Adnan, 37, was released before dawn on July 12, 2015 and is receiving treatment for the medical consequences of his hunger strike. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

Palestinian attorney Muhammad Allan has been detained in prison since November of last year without rights or a trial. He has been on hunger strike for 60 days and has refused medical treatment. Just a month ago, another administrative detainee, Khader Adnan, was released after a similarly harrowing hunger strike.

Allan is backed by Israeli doctors who have refused to force-feed him, a practice that in the past has led to the deaths of four Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The doctors are under enormous pressure by the government, although they maintain that force-feeding constitutes a form of torture, according to medical ethics.

While administrative detention may cost Allan’s life, it will only cost settlers in administrative detention a few supportive or opposing claims by politicians. No one will be surprised when they are released without trial, without going on hunger strike or without anyone threatening them with force-feeding.

Sawsan Khalife’ is an independent journalist. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      What’s the matter with you, world? Get with the program. Man up. Don’t you know that utter ruthlessness and cruelty is what it takes to run a proper illegal occupation and imprisonment of an entire people while you steal their land? How else do you think Israelis gonna get the job done? Ain’t no other way to do it. Buncha namby pambies ya are. Ruthlessness + ingenuity + resources + a big daddy who covers for you and lets you do this to the other “side” while talking about the “sides” “negotiating.” Now there’s a proper occupation. Jolly good show chaps jolly good show.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        The above visceral post reveals the sad little make belief cartoon world of Benny. Here are a few other pearls of wisdom which he said, or implied in the past…

        – we broke it, we have to fix it.

        – The Saint Palestinians are immaculate, they never broke anything, so they never have to fix anything.

        – All the saintPalestinians need to do is tell us to jump and we have to ask them how high. That’s Benny’s concept of what the peace terms should be.

        – According to Benny, we are just hysterical about Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa and other little darlings.

        – According to Benny, we need leaders like Noam Sheizaf who will click his fingers and will create peace instantaniously.

        – But never fear, says Benny, if the rest of us hysterical evil Israelis turn out to be right about Hamas and their cronies, Noam Sheizaf has served in the IDF and he will sort them out.

        The only thing Benny forgot to tell us is how he would end up feeling about Noam Sheizaf should he find it necessary to sort out Hamas, using his IDF training. Nu, Benny? Tell us, we are all ears…

        PS
        Listening to Benny’s story, one would have to conclude that fanatics like me are just panic merchants and the only place in the Middle East where there is trouble, is Israel/Palestine purely because we Jewish Israelis are evil personified. The rest of the Middle East is a peaceful paradise on earth.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          That’s some powerful stuff you’re smoking. Where can I get some?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You mean you deny what I say you said and implied?

            Oh goodie, Benny is having his cake and eating it too again. Or at least is trying to.

            He made those retorts to me so he ate his cake then (he pretended that he had an answer to my questions) and now he is pretending not to have said it so now he still wants to have his eaten cake (in other words he wants to pretend that he is sane).

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Thanks for the links. Folks can see that what I say and what you say I say are not the same thing. It just reinforces how out of touch with reality the right wing is.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You are welcome Benny…

            Those links show that you said this…

            BEN:”You broke it you fix it”

            BEN:”So withdraw every settler outside the close in blocks.” –
            (Unilaterally mind you, like we did in Gaza for which we got thousands of rockets)

            BEN:”What hysteria. What absurdity.
            Sheizaf served in the IDF in the territories and knows what’s what. Sheizaf should be your prime minister.”

            BEN:”Such transparent fear mongering [about Hamas and their cronies] and mindless stereotyping.”

            The rest, Benny implied. It just reinforces how out of touch with reality the so called progressive Arab apologists are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            …I should have said how cynical the so called progressive Arab apologists are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Why do you embarrass yourself like this? Everyone who wants to can now go and see how in your obsessive vendetta you’ve twisted, stripped and ripped out of context what I actually said. (Just for example: I said withdraw the settlers keep the troops. And thereby exposed aaall the BS about “security.” You, sneak that you are, excised “keep the troops.” Wow. Are you taking lessons from BigCat?).

            Reply to Comment
          • Wedding Singer

            Ben, after countless postings and weeks of pissing and moaning that BDS is not antisemitic, your position has been destroyed by the Matisyahu news. Your “radio silence” on the matter shows your true colors as a dishonest person and someone with poor moral character.

            So which are you? A liar or an ignoramus?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well, we *know* you are taking lessons from BigCat. Troll.

            Reply to Comment
          • Wedding Singer

            What a pitiful way to attempt to deflect.

            First, you support BDS and then announce you vacation in Israel.
            Second, you plead with us to view BDS as a moral, non antisemitic cause and refuse to acknowledge blatant antisemitism in the group
            This of course after being caught and admitting to using at least 1/2 dozen names on this website, even having your various sock puppets talk to each other for support.

            You prove time and time again that you are a liar and your character lacks ethics.

            So, please tell us, are you a liar, or an ignoramus?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Trolling Ben with lies. It’s “to die for.” lol.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”It’s “to die for.” lol.”

            Curious, Benny, I thought you didn’t approve of that phrase?

            …yes, I get your meaning but don’t congratulate yourself. I was onto you all along…

            …nudge, nudge … wink, wink… only you and I know what this is all about Benny. But we won’t talk about it here and now. Maybe some other time…?

            Reply to Comment
          • Wedding Singer

            No lies by me Ben; you are having difficulty keeping your own lies straight.

            Are you now going to deny saying that BDS is not antisemitic?

            You spent weeks telling us that BDS is not antisemitic.
            Why the radio silence about it now?

            Tell us; were you lying all along, or were you just too stupid to figure it out?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            @Wedding Singer

            I know how you feel exactly. Benny is a bit like a dog who leaves his crap on the side of the kerb then proudly walks off.

            Reply to Comment
          • Wedding Singer

            Yes Gustsv, what an appropriate analogy!
            It’s really something to say things over and over again and when they are proven wrong, he runs away like Brave Sir Robin’s Knights.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Like I said. I know how you feel. He has done it to me too. An honest person would at least say, maybe I was wrong or that I need to re-examine my position. But this guy is just cynical.

            Don’t let him worry you. Just keep on proving him wrong. That’s the best medicine against thick skinned people like him.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”Why do you embarrass yourself like this?

            Ya think so, Benny? Am I really embarrassing myself? Really nice of ya to be so concerned about me ….[sarcasm]

            BEN:”Everyone who wants to can now go and see how in your obsessive vendetta you’ve twisted, stripped and ripped out of context what I actually said.”

            Ya think so Benny? I conduct a vendetta against ya? Are you sure you are not paranoid? Maybe it’s your stupid opinions I have something against? Ya think…?

            BEN:”(Just for example: I said withdraw the settlers keep the troops. And thereby exposed aaall the BS about “security.” You, sneak that you are, excised “keep the troops.”

            Yep, Benny, and you keep on pretending that my objections to your proposal relate only to security (although that too). But anyone can see for themselves that on that thread I mentioned two other objections too…

            1. Socio-Economic upheavals.

            2. The demographic threat.

            BEN:”Wow. Are you taking lessons from BigCat?).”

            Nope. I own up to my own opinions.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            …and I didn’t excise “keep the troops”, Benny. I did not quote all your post. Wanna know why?

            …because my I made two points which you ignored and are still ignoring here. And those two points had nothing to do with security.

            1. The unilateral withdrawal of 10,000 settlers was meant to be a good will gesture for which we were rewarded by thousands of rockets onto the heads of our civilians instead. So why exactly would we want to make such a gesture again for nothing?

            2. And that brought in my second point which you also ignored/ignore. The withdrawal of settlers causes us socio-economic problems and we won’t get any thanks for it in return. So why should we do it? Why should we do it even if our troops would manage to stop the rockets?

            Do you kapish now Benny? Nah? Never mind. You are blocking your ears again Benny. And you are shouting… Hey, maybe if you would just stop shouting and would listen a bit too? Maybe then we could get somewhere? …Maybe?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ten posts all about Ben all in one day. Wow. You two knuckleheads can’t get enough of me. Do you have another twist, strip and rip job lined up and ready to go based on deep research and your undying fascination with me? Feel free. Ms. Penina Eilberg-Schwartz today makes a nuanced, intelligent, balanced statement about BDS and I endorse what she says. She’s on the right track.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yep, Benny, in response to your many posts we post too. What’s the matta? It hurts your feelings? Or does it make ya feel important?

            I think it’s the latter. And I agree with you in the same way that I would say that it is important not to ignore disease.

            Reply to Comment
          • Wedding Singer

            Don’t flatter yourself loser. I wouldn’t cross the street to spit on you.

            This is about your deceit which is probably driven by an untreated mental illness.

            So, did you lie about BDS or did they manage to make you look like an ass?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Feel important Benny? Good. Enjoy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Wedding Singer

            “I endorse what she says”
            What an arrogant prick you are Ben. An endorsement from you is as meaningless as a trophy from the Special Olympics. Except Special Olympians at least have something to be proud of.

            And you did not even understand her message as simplistic as it was. She DID NOT make a balanced nuanced statement on BDS as you claim. She was unequivocal about BDS itself but called out the hypocrisy of those who believe only in the use of BDS. You really are a stupid person. Stupid and annoying as shit.

            Reply to Comment
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