Is­rael cracks down on Jewish ex­trem­ists, makes ar­rests

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY DANIEL ESTRIN

Is­rael in­ten­si­fied its crack­down on Jewish ex­trem­ists Sun­day, jail­ing two high-pro­file ul­tra­na­tion­al­ist Is­raelis for six months with­out charge and ar­rest­ing ad­di­tional sus­pects in West Bank set­tle­ment out­posts, se­cu­rity author­i­ties said.

The crack­down comes af­ter a deadly July 31 fire­bomb at­tack on a Pales­tinian home in the West Bank that killed an 18-mon­thold boy and se­verely wounded his par­ents and brother. The boy’s fa­ther died of his wounds Satur­day.

Author­i­ties called the ar­son at­tack an act of “Jewish ter­ror­ism,” and Is­rael’s Se­cu­rity Cab­i­net ap­proved the use of harsh mea­sures to com­bat the trend, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion, which al­lows sus­pects to be held for lengthy pe­ri­ods with­out charge. The mea­sure has been mainly used against Pales­tini­ans sus­pected of in­volve­ment in mil­i­tant groups, and rarely against Is­raelis.

Pales­tini­ans have gone on hunger strike in re­cent years to protest against ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion, and on Sun­day the fam­ily of Mo­hammed Allan, a Pales­tinian de­tainee who has re­fused food for 56 days, said his health is in dan- ger.

Meir Et­tinger, the grand­son of the late U.S.-born ul­tra­na­tion­al­ist Rabbi Meir Ka­hane, and Evi­atar Slonim, another Jewish ex­trem­ist, were placed un­der ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion Sun­day for their sus­pected in­volve­ment in an ex­trem­ist Jewish or­ga­ni­za­tion, the of­fice of Is­rael’s De­fense Min­is­ter said.

The two, who are in their early 20s, were ar­rested last week. Another sus­pected Jewish ex­trem­ist, Mordechai Mayer, was placed un­der six-month ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion last week.

Is­raeli hu­man rights ac­tivists who ad­vo­cate on be­half of Pales­tini­ans, as well as lawyers for the Is­raeli sus­pects, crit­i­cized the use of ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion, por­tray­ing it as a dra­co­nian mea­sure in­tended to ap­pease an Is­raeli public shocked at the fire­bomb at­tack.

“It is car­ried out based on an ad­min­is­tra­tive or­der only, with­out in­dict­ment or trial, and the de­tainee can­not de­fend him­self against the al­le­ga­tions as the ev­i­dence is clas­si­fied,” a state­ment by hu­man rights group B’Tse­lem said.

“This mea­sure is dan­ger­ous ... for the en­tire le­gal sys­tem and for democ­racy,” said Aharon Rozeh, a lawyer for Et­tinger and Slonim, who said his clients were in­no­cent.

Is­rael’s Shin Bet se­cu­rity agency has ac­cused Et­tinger of lead­ing an ex­trem­ist Jewish move­ment that en­cour­aged at­tacks on Pales­tinian prop­erty and Chris­tian holy sites, in­clud­ing an ar­son at­tack on a well-known church near the Sea of Galilee in north­ern Is­rael that marks the New Tes­ta­ment story of the mir­a­cle of the loaves and fish.

In late July, Is­rael ar­rested five young Is­raelis in con­nec­tion with the ar­son at­tack, in­clud­ing Mayer.

Is­raeli author­i­ties also car­ried out ar­rest raids Sun­day in two West Bank set­tle­ment out­posts. Is­raeli po­lice spokes­woman Luba Samri would not say whether the ar­rests were linked to the ar­son at­tack. The ar­rests, car­ried out by a na­tion­al­ist crime unit, were con­nected to “a num­ber of events that oc­curred re­cently” in the West Bank, she said.

Hunger Strike

Mean­while, the fa­ther of the Pales­tinian de­tainee on hunger strike, Naser Allan, said his 30-year-old son is in se­ri­ous con­di­tion af­ter 56 days with­out food. He said Mo­hammed was ar­rested in Novem­ber 2014 and placed in ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion for two six-month pe­ri­ods.

Naser said his son, now a lawyer, had pre­vi­ously been im­pris­oned from 2006-2009 for al­leged af­fil­i­a­tion with the Pales­tinian mil­i­tant group Is­lamic Ji­had.

A con­tentious Is­raeli law passed last month per­mits the force­feed­ing of in­mates on a lifethreat­en­ing hunger strike. Allan’s fa­ther said that Is­raeli author­i­ties are threat­en­ing to force-feed his son, who has re­fused medicine or vi­ta­mins, only drink­ing wa­ter.

A spokes­woman for the Is­raeli hos­pi­tal where he is be­ing held, and Is­rael’s prison ser­vices, did not im­me­di­ately re­turn re­quests for com­ment.

Scores of Pales­tinian pris­on­ers have used hunger strikes in re­cent years to high­light their de­ten­tion with­out trial or charges.

Is­rael in the past has ac­ceded to their de­mands and at times has re­leased pris­on­ers. In June, Is­rael re­leased Khader Ad­nan, 36, a se­nior ac­tivist in Is­lamic Ji­had, af­ter he car­ried out a 55-day hunger strike to protest his de­ten­tion.

Some 200 Pales­tinian pris­on­ers over the last six days have launched open- ended hunger strikes in four Is­raeli jails to de­mand im­prove­ments in daily ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Issa Karake, Pales­tinian min­is­ter of pris­oner af­fairs.

Karake said the pris­on­ers’ de­mands in­cluded al­low­ing the fam­i­lies of Gaza pris­on­ers to visit, per­mit­ting ac­cess to satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tions, and end­ing the use

of force and soli­tary con­fine­ment. As­so­ci­ated Press writer Miriam Berger in Jerusalem con­trib­uted to this re­port.

AP

Pales­tini­ans mourn the death of Saed Dawab­sheh, 32, dur­ing his fu­neral pro­ces­sion in the West Bank vil­lage of Duma near Nablus on Satur­day, Aug. 8.

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