Israel Holding 710 Palestinians Under Administrative Detention

MKs blast legality of restraining orders against settlers; Prosecution: None denied right to legal hearing.

Some 710 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails under administrative detention without trial, the Knesset Legislative Committee said Monday.

Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan said the detainees are being held as a preventative action, to keep them from committing future crimes.

The committee also said 16 settlers have been issued restraining orders preventing them from reentering their homes in settlements slated for evacuation.

MK Yitzhak Levi (National Union - National Religious Party) said the government has not told the settler detainees why they were issued restraining orders, adding they were given no legal recourse for contending with the accusations against them.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union - NRP), who initiated the discussion in committee, said that lawmakers across the political spectrum are opposed to the use of restraining orders and administrative detentions. He accused the government of carrying out these orders in a reckless and deviant way.

MK Aryeh Eldad said the detained settlers were not given a restraining order but an "exile and deportation order from home." MK Zvi Hendel also proposed legislation that would cancel the option of issuing administrative detention orders.

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) argued that the use of administrative detentions can be applied only to Israelis and not to Palestinians. She said that if there is enough evidence proving the detention unlawful, it should be brought to trial without delay to give the detainees an opportunity to defend themselves in fair trial.

Deputy State Prosecutor Nitzan said any person under consideration for a restraining order is given the right to a legal hearing. He added that while the majority of evidence is confidential, the suspects and their attorneys are given a basic summary of the suspicions against them.