Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are escalating their protests of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association released a statement on 13 February from administrative detainees pledging to boycott Israeli military courts from 15 February 2018 in order to demand an end to the practice.
Administrative detention was first brought to Palestine by the British colonial mandate; today it continues to be used by the Israeli occupation at a systematic and extensive level. Over 450 Palestinians are currently jailed without charge or trial. Administrative detention orders are issued for one to six months at a time; they are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians can spend years at a time jailed with no charge or trial under repeatedly renewed detention orders. This policy is used against children as well; in the past two years dozens of Palestinian children have been imprisoned without charge.
The prisoners’ statement follows:
This Israeli Zionist colonial project continues to use the systematic policy of administrative detention, which is a violation of conditions and terms elaborated by international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Recently, the Israeli occupation forces intensified the use of this policy as there are currently hundreds of Palestinians under administrative detention. This intensification happens regularly, not once or twice a year, but every few months. Palestinians have spent up to 14 years under administrative detention without charge or trial. Administrative detention is used as a weapon against Palestinians; it is one method of collective punishment against our people.
International law puts strict conditions and rules on the use of administrative detention. The colonial occupation claims that it’s situation has met the emergency status and extreme conditions, which allow administrative detention, consistently for the past 50 years. The Israeli occupation authority does not only manipulate the language and implementation of international law, but it also claims administrative detention procedures are in keeping with international law. This is a lie. In reality, the Israeli military court and laws are in complete harmony with the occupation’s policies against our people and represent a complete disregard for international norms. To this end, Israeli military courts when it comes to administrative detention adopts 99.9 percent of the suggestions coming from the Israeli intelligence department.
Accordingly, as a continuation of our hunger strikes and our struggle against administrative detention, we, administrative detainees in Israeli jails, are announcing the beginning of a boycott campaign against military courts. We will begin an open boycott to all administrative detention courts because we believe that the core of resisting this policy comes from boycotting this Israeli legal system.
As we go ahead with this collective step, we put our faith and trust in our people, their power and institutions, and in the civil society which will not leave us alone in this fight. We also call on all human rights organizations, the lawyers union, the Palestinian Prisoner Club, and the Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees to help us in this step and boycott all administrative detention courts with us. This is a national patriotic act that should not be violated by any individual or institution, so we call on the Palestinian Authority to make a submission to international criminal court on the issue of administrative detention as soon as possible. Finally, we call on forming media, legal and public committees to support us in this campaign.
Glory is for our martyrs and may we and our people get freedom
Administrative Detainees in the occupation prisons
The Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement on 14 February, noting that this action comes after several months of discussion between the factions of the prisoners’ movement in order to prepare to take a strong step. They noted that “over many years, the prisoners have engaged in battle after battle to end the policy of administrative detention, including collective and individual battles of the empty stomach, but this remains an open file and an ongoing crime committed by the occupying state against our people.” The statement called upon all lawyers to abide by the decision to boycott the courts for administrative detainees so as to not give false legitimacy to the facade of judicial procedures adopted by the occupation military courts. It also urged escalating the struggle to end administrative detention to international courts to seek justice and accountability.
The announcement comes as several prisoners are engaged in individual hunger strikes against administrative detention. The hunger strike has been a major part of Palestinian resistance to detention; in 2014, administrative detainees launched a collective hunger strike against the policy, and individuals and groups of administrative detainees have repeatedly taken up the battle of empty stomachs in order to highlight their cases, demand their freedom and demand an end to administrative detention altogether.
Rizk Rajoub, 61, is once again on hunger strike for the 10th day against his administrative detention; after previous agreements to end his strike, he has remained jailed without charge or trial and is demanding his release. Instead of charging or releasing him as he demanded, they issued a new six-month administrative detention order against him. Ashraf Radi Abu Zahab is also on hunger strike for the ninth day in the Negev desert prison against his own imprisonment without charge or trial.
In addition, Munir Hantash, from Qalqilya, is on hunger strike for the ninth day, demanding clarity over the date of his release after a 16-year sentence; he has been imprisoned since 2002 and has been given varying release dates of 20 February, 7 March and 20 August. Rusaila Shamasneh has been on hunger strike for 10 days against her isolation and that of her daughter.
The Israeli occupation military court in Ofer has issued 47 administrative detention orders so far since the beginning of February, reported Palestinian lawyer Mahmoud al-Halabi on Thursday, 8 February, including renewing the order against journalist Hammam Hantash, 26, for another six months; he has been imprisoned since 15 February. Palestinian youth activist Saleh al-Jaidi was also subjected to another six months of imprisonment without charge or trial; the young organizer from Dheisheh camp has been imprisoned since September 2017.
The detention orders included the following:
1. Ahmad Musa al-Khatib, Jerusalem, 6 months, new order
2. Mohammed Ali Hamed, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
3. Ibrahim Fadel al-Sheikh, Ramallah, 6 months, new order
4. Fadi Ahmed Omri, Tulkarem, 3 months, extension
5. Othman Kamel Nakhleh, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
6. Sabri Ismail Jaber, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
7. Samer Sami Sawafta, Tubas, 6 months, new order
8. Mahmoud Hassan Wardan, Bethlehem, 4 months, extension
9. Lutfi Hassan Awawdeh, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
10. Jumaa Saad Abu Jabal, Jenin, 2 months, extension
11. Iyas Bassem al-Farajein, Bethlehem 4 months, new order
12. Munir Othman Hassan Zahran, Ramallah, 6 months, new order
13. Ahmed Qassem Sheikh, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
14. Ayed Mohammed Dudin, al-Khalil, 3 months, extension
15. Karim Ahmed Ayad, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
16. Abbas Abdel-Hadi Abu Aliya, Ramallah, 6 months, extension
17. Islam Walid Shahatait, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
18. Nour al-Deen Ayesh Talahmeh, al-Khalil 6 months, extension
19. Suhaib Jamil Shabah, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
20. Issa Khalil Abu Arqoub, 6 months, extension
21. Ibrahim Sami Mutair, Jerusalem, 6 months, extension
22. Imad Hamdi Abu Khalaf, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
23. Ismail Ahmed Hawamdeh, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
24. Hammam Mohammed Hantash, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
25. Mujahid Ahmed Abu al-Ezz, Jenin, 3 months, extension
26. Nour al-Deen Mohammed Qazi, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
27. Kamal Suleiman Hamed, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
28. Mamoun Hammad al-Obeid, Tulkarem, 6 months, extension
29. Maan Hamdallah Humeidat, al-Khalil, 4 months, extension
30. Tareq Nayef Salameh, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
31. Abdel-Basit Abdel-Jamil Haj, Tulkarem, 6 months, extension
32. Ismail Khalil al-Zeer, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
33. Mahmoud Hassan Wareidan, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
34. Rami Ribhi Oweis, Ramallah, 6 months, extension
35. Mohammed Jamal Hamideh, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
36. Abdullah Samir Hamideh, Ramallah, 6 months, extension
37. Yousef Bader Khalil, al-Khalil, 4 months, extension
38. Adnan Ahmed Khader, Tulkarem, 3 months, extension
39. Fayez Ahmad Wardah, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
40. Fouad Rabah Assi, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
41. Louay Jamil Qashmar, Qalqilya, 6 months, extension
42. Ibrahim Mousa Makhmara, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
43. Montasser Issa Shadid, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
44. Abdel-Khalek Hassan Natsheh, al-Khalil, 4 months, extension
45. Yousef Yacoub Mahamdeh, Bethlehem, 4 months, new order
46. Haithem Abdel-Nasser Siyaj, al-Khalil, 4 months, new order
47. Saleh Mohammed Jaidi, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension