Five East Jerusalem Residents Detained for Violating Curfew They Claim Is Unlawful

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Israel Police in operation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah, January 1, 2020
Israel Police in operation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah, January 1, 2020Credit: Emil Salman

Five Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah arrested on Sunday after violating the terms of a rare nighttime curfew imposed by the Israeli military are still in detention.

The five were arrested after openly violated the curfew, which they contest. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered their release on bail  on Tuesday, but they refused to pay it, arguing the curfew order is unlawful and stressing they were not presented with any evidence to support the military’s decision.

In late December, Israel’s Home Front Command slapped nine Isawiyah residents with administrative detention orders, citing an emergency regulation that goes back to 1945, before the creation of the State of Israel.

According to the order, the nine men are required to remain in their home between 8 P.M. and 6 A.M., a measure which “is necessary to safeguard national security, public welfare and the maintenance of public order.”

This takes place amid an ongoing Israeli campaign in their neighborhood, which has led to the arrest of over 600 residents but only a handful of indictments.

Israel Police has led an aggressive campaign in the area since summer 2019, patrolling, setting up checkpoints and laying ambushes. Most evenings see violent clashes between security forces and young men from the neighborhood. In the past, the nine men were charged with disrupting public order.

Administrative detention orders give extraordinary powers to military commanders, and are generally used only in the West Bank to detain Palestinians without trial. No Palestinian or Israeli lawyers contacted by Haaretz can remember a Home Front commander ever issuing personal administrative detention orders, and the use of such orders in Jerusalem is extremely rare.

The Israeli military said that such a decision “is made when defense officials have information pointing to a public security risk. This information... is based on classified intelligence, which cannot be released.”

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