Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is Administrative Detention For Israelis Just?

In light of recent miscarriages of justice in Israel against Jews, I felt this article could be insightful from several years ago that originally appeared in Pakistan Today.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Is Administrative Detention For Israelis Just?

By: Jo-ana D'Balcazar

Undoubtedly, the Federman case is one of the cases that awakes controversy among those who defend Israel, those who believe that terrorists want peace with Israel, those who just let terrorism claim more blood without imprisoning terrorist leaders who openly take credit for genocide bombings, and those who support the liberation of Arab-Palestinian terrorist prisoners.

The point is not whether people agree or disagree with Noam Federman's politics, but that as an Israeli, his civil rights should have been respected. While 400 Arab-Palestinian terrorists possibly are about to be liberated, Federman is still seen by many as the mastermind behind the alleged Jewish terrorist underground. Is it fair to consider him a terrorist or a citizen defending his right to live peacefully in Israel? Who is attacking whom and who is being defended from?

Noam Federman is detained under administrative detention. Let us stop here. What does it mean being in "administrative detention"? Supposedly, it means to hold a person prisoner when there is credible intelligence that such a person is about to commit a terrorist attack. The argument here is that Federman was arrested for allegedly masterminding terrorist attacks against Arab-Palestinians hiding behind the new Jewish terrorist underground.

Then, wait a minute. If this is the current Israeli law to be used in "emergency situation," why it has not been applied to the self-confessed terrorist leaders of Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, and Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, among others? The emergency situation is clear in these cases when they even announce future terrorist attacks. Ironically, they not only announce them, and not only fulfill their attacks but also proudly take credit for killing and maiming innocent Jews. And then, they are treated and celebrated by Arafat and almost every Arab-Palestinians, not as murderers, but as martyrs.

Have not terrorists publicly confessed being responsible for many of the terrorist attacks including genocide bombings? Besides Israeli intelligence has a lot of evidence about terrorist leaders. Something here is just not making sense. Federman, allegedly, was imprisoned for fear that he might plan attacks against Arab-Palestinians within Israel. Why is it then that the Arab-Palestinians terrorists in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are not also detained, but instead they are even encouraged and supported by Arafat and the neighboring states, such as Iran, Libya, and Syria that are sponsoring terrorism?

It is not a crime to allow the growing terrorist campaign whose goal is to destroy Israel, a democratic country since its modern foundation in 1948? Sarcastically, terrorist leaders with clear evidence of terrorist participation, including Yasser Arafat, former terrorist leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and now Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, are still walking out free planning more and more terrorists attacks. Let us not forget that Alksa Martyrs Brigade, responsible for many terrorist attacks, is nothing else but a military arm of the Palestinian Authority.

One can argue that Arafat, in a sense, is under special prison treatment because he cannot leave his headquarters in Ramallah. Well, he might be under special prison treatment but he still operates and officially commands the Palestinian Authority. This is where the controversy starts. For instance, the head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra'ad Salah, received only a restraining order after he was accused of raising funds for the terrorist group of Hamas. Does it mean that Federman is more dangerous than Arafat and Ra'ad Salah and other Arab-Palestinian terrorist leaders?

Therefore, some argue that the use of "administrative detention" is being used as a tool against those who oppose the destruction of Yesha towns, which are located in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Federman resides precisely in Hebron, part of Yesha towns. Will this mean that residents in those areas, who oppose to leave their towns and decide to defend against terrorist attacks, will also be imprisoned for "fear" that they will attack Arab-Palestinians terrorists?

Now, there is enough intelligence information about the whereabouts of known terrorist leaders in Judea and Samaria. Why not then going after them to apply this "emergency situation" instead of letting them plan, announce, and commit their publicized terrorist attacks?

Can the "administrative detention" law make more logical to imprison real terrorist leaders and not people or Israeli citizens who want to defend Israel precisely from those genocide attacks? This reminds us of the case of the American Christian-Zionist David Ben-Ariel, who was imprisoned allegedly for trying to destroy the Dome of the Rock for the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple. Ben-Ariel repetitively declared that he was there only to protest, not to destroy the Mosque.

Attorney Naftali Wurtzberger, who defended Federman, also represented David Ben-Ariel during his trial in Israeli High Court and Jerusalem's Municipal Court. Ben-Ariel is now free and back in the United States. Yet, the Israeli government estimated that Ben-Ariel cannot visit Israel and that he might be eligible to return in 2005. Why not deporting the leaders of terrorist groups who are living, apparently with more rights, in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza?

Therefore, the Federman situation has caused many Israelis to reexamine their conscience. Again, the controversy arises. Federman, an Israeli, who has not committed a genocide attack, was imprisoned under "emergency situation," while the Israeli government has agreed to free about 400 Arab-Palestinians terrorists.

The condition is that they must be without "blood on their hands" and with less than 3 years remaining from their prison sentences. It is naive to believe that these 400 terrorists will obey "a promissory note for not continuing with terrorism." Plus, instead of being deported, they will be sent to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Does this means a victory for the terrorists and a slap for Federman and Ben-Ariel? Simply, something is not clicking.

Ironically, it appears that terrorism is the one dictating the terms for peace negotiations. Is it that negotiation for liberation of verified Arab-Palestinians terrorists is more negotiable than that of Federman? Point blank is that genocide bombings did not stop, but increased. This is why the fence has been adopted as a "security measure." Hence, there are two questions.

First, is it fair to consider Federman as a terrorist or a citizen defending Israel? Remember, is not a matter whether people agree or disagree with Federman's politics, but about Israeli civil rights. Second, can this "emergency situation law" be applied immediately to all known terrorist leaders in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza? What do you think?

Jo-ana D'Balcazar, M.A., Political Analyst, International Relations. Specialist in the European Union and the Middle East Crisis.

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