Ass´t AG Considering Administrative Detention for Protestors

Following Monday's anti-disengagement blocking of a Tel Aviv highway, calls for drastic steps against civil disobedience are being heard. University students also paid the price for their protests.

, | updated: 20:26

The government’s Assistant Attorney-General, Shai Nitzan, said that it might be appropriate to keep Jews under arrest without indictment or trial. He said that this might be necessary as the date for executing the government’s plan to expel Jews from their homes in the Gaza region approaches.

The procedure for arresting people without due process, known as administrative detention, has been considered a measure to be used only for jailing suspected terrorists who pose an immediate threat to the country.

Administrative detention has also been used on rare occasions against Jewish citizens - people who were deemed dangerous because of their extremely radical views or activities on the right or the left. Noam Federman of Hevron, for instance, was imprisoned for last year for over six months without having been tried or informed of the charges against him, and is still is being held under a form of house arrest.

As the expulsion approaches, fears are rising that the government might imprison hundreds or even thousands of Jewish citizens, without providing them due process rights. Assistant A-G Nitzan limited his support for administrative detention to what he termed "radical cases" only.

“Administrative detentions will not be determined by public hysteria, but rather by the material brought before us” by the security services, Nitzan said. He was addressing the Student Union at the Hebrew University.

A copy-cat roadblocking, apparently inspired by Monday night’s shutdown of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, was thwarted yesterday afternoon on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway.

Twenty youths with tires were spotted by police near the town of Telz-Stone, not far from Jerusalem. Police sent a squad car and helicopter to the scene, but the would-be protestors had run away. The police sufficed with confiscating the tires and launching a search.

In other civil-disobedience news, police beat several Tel Aviv University students and briefly arrested three early this morning, during a student protest against higher-education budget cuts. Shinui MK Meli Polishuk-Bloch was quoted as saying, "Let the police direct their violence against the settlers and disengagement opponents instead." Similarly, Labor MK Ephraim Sneh said that police should be dealing with violent extremists instead of combating the students.

The students locked the university gates during the night, and police who arrived on the scene used excessive force and unnecessary violence to disperse them, witnesses said.

Gal Dai, chairman of the national union, was quoted in Haaretz as saying, "The struggle against the budget cuts to higher education has only started. The violent manner in which the police behaved reinforces the opinion that we will only be able to effect changes through the use of violence, and that's likely how we'll operate in the future."