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Israel's Cause for Detention: ████ ██ █████ [Published by Haaretz as censored by Israeli authorities]

00:00 May 29 2024 Israel/Palestine (إسرائيل / فلسطين * ישראל פלשתינה)

Israel's Cause for Detention: ████ ██ █████ [Published by Haaretz as censored by Israeli authorities]
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Photo:
Bassem Tamimi at Hadassa Hospital. That was the last time Nariman heard from him. Published by Haaretz
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by Jonathan Pollak for Haaretz
May 29, 2024

Administrative detention is based on secret suspicions, secret evidence and no charges being brought. To conceal its inherent absurdity, hearings are held in-camera and away from the public eye. As such, even the little that is revealed to the defense remains prohibited for publication.

On the morning of October 29, after a short farewell to his wife Nariman and their kids, Bassem Tamimi left his home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, and started heading east toward the Allenby Bridge. He was on his way to visit relatives in Jordan he had not seen in a long time. A little after 11 A.M., Nariman received a message saying, "The secret police asked for me. I'll write when it's over." And then, shortly after 3 P.M., a call: "I am being arrested. They're coming to take the phone. Have to go. Bye."

This, unfortunately, was not Bassem's first encounter with Israeli law. His village, Nabi Saleh, has waged a multi-year campaign of civil resistance against land grabs and settlement expansion. As a prominent activist, he was incarcerated repeatedly for his role as a protest leader, part of Israel's attempt to quell dissent.

In the evening, the phone rang again. The woman on the line introduced herself, saying she lived in Silwan and was currently at the Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem. She then went on to say that Bassem was there, surrounded by soldiers. He was taken there after his blood pressure soared dangerously. Nariman could faintly hear Bassem's voice over the line saying, "I'm fine, don't worry, everything's good." After a few more hours, at night, that same woman sent a picture of Bassem in the ER, undergoing a checkup; his hand bound with ziptie cuffs. That was the last time Nariman heard from him. Save for a single short lawyer visit before Eid al-Fitr in April, no one has been in contact with him since.

Four days after his arrest, police ████, ████ ████: "███████ ███ ████ █████ ███ ████████, ██████, █████? "███████ ███ ██████: "████ ███ ██████." And that was that. Eight days later – the maximum time afforded to the authorities by article 33 of Israel's military law in the West Bank before a detainee must be presented before a judge (who also is a soldier in uniform) – a six-month administrative detention order was issued, which did not suggest any specific allegations, but rather only a very general statement regarding ███████ ██ █ ███████ .

Eleven more days later, the Kafkaesque proceedings of judicial review over the order took place. Some of it was held ex-parte between the soldier-judge and the Shin Bet. Like all administrative detention hearings, it was held in-camera, to obscure the fact that detainees' lawyers do their job without access to the facts of the case. Even the few details that are not secret are prohibited for publication. The administrative detention order was approved in full for a period of six months, until April 28.

Administrative detention, however, is not really bound by the limits of time, and can be extended indefinitely. And indeed, as the six months passed, a new six-month order was signed, citing the same meaningless cause of ██████ ████ █ ██████ ██ █. This time however, and unlike the state of affairs in almost any other administrative detention case, the defense had a pretty good insight into the details of the case. Administrative detention is such a mundane phenomenon in Israeli military courts, that , , , .

A few hours prior to Bassem's arrest, Israeli forces arrested █████ █ ████ █ ██████ ███ █████ █ ████████ ███ ███, Bassem's friend from their days together in Israeli jail at the beginning of the millennium. Then too, under administrative detention. ██████ ███ █████ █ ███ ████ ███ ███ ██████ █ ██ █████ █ ███ █████ ███ ███ █ ███ ███ ████, █ ████ ███ ███ ████ ███ ████ █ █ ███ █████ ██ ██ ██ ██ ███ ████ █ ███ █████ ███ ███ █████ ███ ████ █ ███. █████ ███ ███ █████ ███ █████ █ ███, █████ ███ ███ ███ ███ ███ █████ █ ████ ███ ███ ████ ███ █████? █ █████ ██ ███ ███. ██ ███ ██ ███ █ ██ █████ ███ ███ ██████ ███ █████ █ █████ ███ ███ ██████ ███ █████.

█ ████ ███ ███ ███ █████ ███ █████ █ ████ ████ ███ ███ ████ ███ █████ █ ████ ██ ███, ██████ ███ █████ █ ███ ████ ███ ███ ████ ███ █████ █ ██ ███ ███ ███ ███ ██ ███ ███ █ "██████ ███ ███ ████ ███ ████ █ ██████ ███ ███? █████ ███ █████ █ ████ ███ ███ █████ ███ ████ █ ███████ ███." ███ ██████ ███ ████ █ ███ ███ ███ ██ ███ █████ █ ██████ ███ ███ 25 ███ ██ █████ █ ███████ ████, long after the administrative detention order against Bassem was reviewed and approved by the court, ██████ was unconditionally released.

On his release, ██████ contacted Nariman and told her what had happened, thinking that his release must also mean Bassem should soon follow. This is how the defense learned the details it knows, and not through discovery by the prosecution. Even though there is no gag order on ██████ ██████'s case, discussing its details in conjunction with Bassem's administrative detention is prohibited for publication. Despite everything that was revealed – and that is the nature of administrative detention: there can always be more hidden evidence, secret, almost mystical – Bassem is still being held under administrative detention even now. Almost two weeks after the hearing, ███ █ ██ ██████ ██████ ████████ █████ █ █████ █ █████, the judge partially confirmed the second administrative detention order against Bassem in violation of military law provisions, ████████ ████ █ ███ █ ███████ ███ █ ████████.

Like Bassem, thousands more are held captive by Israel under administrative detention. In the past, it was considered, at least officially, a measure reserved for the most extreme of cases. This hypocritical position has always been false, but now there is no longer any need to save face. According to the Israeli army's own data, almost 5,000 arrests were made in the West Bank in the past eight months. These are very conservative numbers, as they don't include the many thousands arrested and released without being indicted.

The data shows that administrative detention, this so-called extreme of extremes, is now the norm. According to Israeli Prison Service numbers, Israel now holds 7016 people who have not yet been convicted in its jails – either awaiting trial or under administrative detention. Of these, 4,299 – more than 60%! – are held without charge or trial. And all that is without saying a single word about the torture, hunger and humiliation to which all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel are subjected these days.
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