Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an administrative detention order on Monday against a resident of the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod, the latest in a wave of the rare arrest decree.
Eid Abdul Latif Hasuna is suspected of firing a gun at a group of young men during the riots last month in Lod, which erupted alongside the 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
According to lawyers who represent such detainees, 15 orders have been signed recently, 12 of them against residents of East Jerusalem. However, according to the Defense Minister’s Office, 13 Israeli citizens are currently under administrative detention.
The 28-year-old was first arrested last month, but no charges were filed against him. Hasuna is suspected of firing at a group of young men from a pre-military academy in the neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol. The school is associated with Garin Torani, a religious Zionist movement which has settled in the center of Lod.
He allegedly opened fire as the men were walking towards their school, as revenge for the death of Musa Hasuna, another Lod resident, who was killed a few days earlier. A medic who arrived at the school was slightly injured and footage was captured on a mobile phone.
Hasuna was placed under arrest for two weeks before being released and then re-arrested. On Monday, after his release was arranged, the defense minister signed an administrative detention order, based on additional information received by the Shin Bet security service. Since providing information in a criminal case would reveal Shin Bet sources, the minister decided to impose administrative detention for four months, expiring on October 20.
Nashef Darwish, Hasuna’s lawyer, told Haaretz that his client was arrested on suspicion of damaging a synagogue and attacking Jews. He said that the District Court will convene on Wednesday to discuss the approval of the detention order. “We will ardently object, although I have no access to the investigative material; everything is based on classified information,” he said. “These are exceptional and drastic steps against citizens. My client does not pose a danger to anyone and if there is evidence against him, why don’t they indict?”
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Maha al-Naqib, a relative of Hasuna, told Haaretz that the detention was an arbitrary decision. “This conduct is reminiscent of the military government days. Its whole purpose is to prevent citizens from protesting and expressing opinions. Eid is married and has a baby; he was never involved in political activity; we have no explanation for this detention.”
These administrative detention orders were issued following last month’s clashes in Arab and mixed cities. Arab sources say that no such orders were issued against citizens in the last decade, even not against political activists. Lawyer and social activist Khaled Azbarka says there is no justification for administrative detention orders. “These orders are used when the police or Shin Bet have no evidence and the courts, regrettably, approve them.”
Most detainees are from East Jerusalem. They face three, four, or six months in prison, subject to approval from the President of Jerusalem’s District Court or his deputy. Detainees are often accused of being alleged terrorists who participated in last month's disturbances or of belonging to Hamas. Their attorneys receive a short summary of the evidence against them and can question Shin Bet investigators in court. All the requests for administrative detention have been approved.
Last week, the Haifa District Court approved an administrative detention order against Fathi Jabareen from Umm al-Fahm, a former security prisoner who was arrested following violent clashes at the city's entrance. The order was issued on June 8 and is valid until October 7. According to the Adalah Legal Center, another such order was issued last month against a Nazareth resident. Details of the court proceedings were placed under a gag order. Adalah, which is supporting the detained man, intends to appeal the order in the coming days at the Supreme Court.
Administrative detention of Israeli citizens and residents is highly unusual compared to the detention of Palestinians in the West Bank. According to Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual, 480 Palestinians were in administrative detention as of last month. By law, the defense minister has the authority to detain a person for up to six months if he has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual threatens state security or public safety. From the moment of arrest, the detainee must be brought before a judge within 48 hours. In the West Bank, by contrast, authority lies with the chief of Central Command, and the detainee has to be brought before a military judge within eight days.