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Israel: far-right minister seeks power to impose administrative detention

June 12, 2023 at 12:23 pm

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on January 24, 2023 [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

As part of his efforts to have sweeping power over the police in Israel, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has introduced a bill in parliament which would enable him to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinians, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Such orders are only ever used against Palestinians, and allow them to be held with neither charge nor trial more or less indefinitely on the basis of “secret evidence” which is not shown to them or their lawyers.

According to Channel 14, the bill is set to be filed by MK Zvika Fogel from Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party and chairman of the Knesset’s National Security Committee. Introducing the bill through the committee, said the Times of Israel, will enable Ben-Gvir’s party to skip preliminary steps that would have allowed the government’s legal advisers, particularly Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, to raise objections.

Observers say that far-right extremist Ben-Gvir’s aim is to strengthen his grip over the Arab community in Israel on the pretext of fighting crime. Arab community leaders blame the police for ignoring violence within their communities in the occupation state.

Administrative detention in Israel is authorised by the defence minister against people accused of carrying our “terror” attacks. In practice, it is always imposed on Palestinians involved in legitimate resistance against the Israeli occupation. It is rarely, if ever, used against illegal Israeli settlers who terrorise Palestinians.

As a lawyer, Ben -Gvir was involved in many legal tussles to mobilise opposition to proposals to impose administrative detention on Jewish settlers. This is evidence, said observers, that suggests that he is planning to use the power to impose administrative detention solely on Arabs rather than Jews, reinforcing apartheid in the occupation state. Apartheid is a crime akin to a crime against humanity.

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