Israel keeps 967 arabs – Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem or Arab-Israelis – in administrative detention, a record number for the last two decades and which means people stay in jail for months or even years without charge or trial.
In total there are 971 people arrested under this formula, since there are also four Israeli Jews who are members of extreme right-wing groups, according to the count carried out by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Administrative detention carried out by Israel has been heavily criticized by international organizations since it deprives the detainee of legal proceedings, without being notified of the charges or holding a trial.
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According to an editorial published this Saturday in haaretzthe number of people in administrative detention has skyrocketed in the last year, while the total number of Palestinians held in Israel for security reasons remains stable, which for the newspaper has an “obvious conclusion”, which is more ” easy and convenient” for Israel to detain them without having to carry out the corresponding legal processes.
In administrative detention there is hardly any judicial supervision: a low-ranking military judge examines the intelligence information provided in writing by the State, which is kept secret from the victim, and decides whether to proceed with the arrest, something to which the military courts access in 90% of casesaccording to Haaretz, reports efe.
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The newspaper also denounces the lack of transparency of the Israel Prison Service when information is requested on these cases, since in the past they provided not only figures, but also the breakdown by age, sex and homebut in recent weeks it has refused to provide that information to Haaretz “despite numerous requests.”
Unusually, among the current administrative detainees are four Jews from the radical right, whose situation has been widely denounced by sympathetic groups and even by the Minister of National Security, the extremist Itamar Ben Gvir; while the arrests in these circumstances of Palestinians do not usually arouse criticism.
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“It is not democratic to arrest a person and throw them in prison without evidence and without trial,” Ben Gvir said in a statement last week after meeting with the relatives of the four Jewish detainees, while he does defend that formula for the Palestinians, as well as the death penalty only for them when they commit “acts of terrorism” or even seeks to promote the creation of a National Guard to deal almost exclusively with crime in the Arab community.
“Detention without charge or trial is an instrument used only by dictatorships. The latest figures demonstrate it unequivocally: the tool that is supposed to be reserved only for the most exceptional cases has become a modus operandi of Israeli dominance in the territories busy,” Haaretz said in its editorial.