Israel’s use of ‘administrative detention’ – an update

Posted: April 5, 2015 by Admin in 'Counter-insurgency', Ahmad Sa'adat, At the coalface, Democracy movements, Imperialism and anti-imperialism, Internationalism, Israel, Palestine, Political prisoners, State repression, State terrorism

stopadIn the piece posted earlier today on the snatching of Khalida Jarrar by Israeli occupation forces on the West Bank, we mentioned the use of ‘administrative detention’, effectively a form of internment without trial (or, often, even charges).  We also put a link to an article we ran a couple of years ago about prisoners in Palestine and Ireland, which looked at administrative detention in more detail.

Below is more up-to-date information on the use of administrative detention since the earlier article was written.  Thanks to Joseph Catron for this:

“319 orders for administrative detention without charge or trial have been issued by Israeli occupation military courts since the beginning of 2015, reported Riyad al-Ashqar, spokesperson of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies.

“This is an increase of 500% over the same period in 2014, when 51 orders were issued, and is linked to the wide-scale mass arrests in the West Bank in June 2014 and after; hundreds of those arrested were not charged or tried but instead ordered to administrative detention …”

Note that there have been strong critiques of an excessive focus on administrative detention, like this one by ’48 Palestinian political prisoner Ameer Makhoul, who was sentenced on political charges by an Israeli civilian court:

“During the Adnan campaign, a number of Palestinian political leaders, human rights activists and media outlets used the argument that if Israel had any evidence against Adnan, it should have brought him before an ordinary court. Others have suggested that the success of his campaign should inspire a new one against the use of administrative detention orders in general.

“These are dangerous notions, particularly when coming from people of standing and influence. Israel is an occupying state and a colonialist entity. Even international law protects the victims of occupation and prohibits their transfer to prisons within the borders of the occupying state. Therefore, both administrative detention and the ‘ordinary’ occupation prisons are equally illegal.

“Moreover, what is ‘evidence’ supposed to mean here? Evidence of resisting the occupation? Resisting the occupation is legitimate: it is the Israeli occupation and colonization, with its settlements and courts, that are illegitimate …”

For the article from 2012 on Palestinian and Irish prisoners, see: Palestine, Ireland: free the political prisoners 
  1. Phil F says:

    That’s a very good point made by Ameer Nakbal. Too often solidarity activists get a bit bogged down in legalisms, as if the problem is merely that the oppressor doesn’t observe legal niceties.

    It’s OK to point out that the oppressors violate their own laws, including ‘international laws’ (ie laws cobbled together by unelected bureaucrats representing the wider interests of imperialism) but the focus always needs to be on the core problem of oppression.

    The problem in this case is the very existence of the state of Israel. It’s the existence of the Zionist state which inevitably requires the occupation of the West Bank, regular murderous sorties against Gaza, and all the panoply of legal and extra-legal repression.

    That’s also why there’s a need for campaigners to move beyond feeling sorry for the ‘poor Palestinians’ and adopt a perspective of being in solidarity with people who are capable of freeing themselves, not some helpless victims of an all-powerful Israel.