T. Belman. The government is quite right to propose this extension to the Minister of National Security. This differs from the detention applied to the Jan 6 detainees in that they were subject to trumped up charges whereas in Israel the detentions would be soundly based.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara warns that the bill could create ‘a slippery slope’ for Israel’s Arab citizens, and ‘violate basic principles of Israeli law’
Israel’s Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara is expected to oppose the bill aimed at giving National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir authority to approve administrative detention orders.
The Justice Ministry has yet to formulate a final position on the bill, which is due to be on Sunday’s agenda of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. According to Justice Ministry sources, however, expanding the use of administrative detention, as Ben-Gvir is seeking, is unnecessary and could infringe upon human rights.
Ben-Gvir reacted to news of Baharav-Miara’s expected opinion with a claim that her refusal to allow police to hold suspects without trial led to murders that could have been prevented. “The ease with which the attorney general approves administrative detentions for youths suspected of disorderly conduct in Hawara, in comparison with her opposition to the administrative arrest of crime bosses with blood on their hands, is irresponsible.”
Under the proposed law, the national security minister can give an administrative detention order at the request of the police commissioner, and with the approval of the attorney general or state prosecutor. The order could be given if “there is a close to certain chance of harm to the public’s safety, should that individual not be detained,” according to the bill.
The use of administrative detention is an extreme measure that, as a practical matter, constitutes detention without trial. It is therefore only permitted in conjunction with Israel’s security-related laws to fight terrorism.
Currently, the power to order administrative detention is in the hands of the defense minister, but the explanatory text of the bill states that these powers should be extended to the national security minister too, for “reasons of state security.”
The text explains that “the need for similar, if not identical powers, arises from the police’s increased handling of activities of a security-related nature, such as its responsibility for the Temple Mount compound, the events [in mixed cities] during the 2021 operation in Gaza, and criminal affairs which tend to mix with security matters.”
Justice Ministry officials have expressed concern that expanding administrative detention and giving the national security minister authority to use it against the country’s Arab citizens could be a slippery slope and violate basic principles of Israeli law – that individuals suspected of a crime have the right to consult a lawyer and the right to be brought before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest, and that they can only be detained based on specific grounds that criminal investigators provide to the court.
The opposition to the proposed legislation follows objection by Attorney General Baharav-Miara’s and State Prosecutor Amit Aisman to involving the Shin Bet security service in the fight against crime in the Arab community.
At a meeting over the past week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the attorney general and state prosecutor expressed concern that enlisting the Shin Bet in the fight against Arab community crime would risk possible violations of Israeli Arabs’ civil rights.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said, reacting to the proposed bill, that this is another example how “under the guise of fighting crime in the Arab society, Ben-Gvir is establishing separate policing and enforcement mechanisms for the Arabs.”