Police question youth
Police question youthIsrael news photo: Honenu

Knesset Law and Justice Committee chairman MK David Rotem told senior officials Thursday that he expects police and other law enforcement authorities to play by the rules of the justice system and refrain from using 'administrative orders.'

Rotem's comments came after IDF Central Command boss Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi ordered that 12 nationalist activists be notified of their temporary expulsion from Judea and Samaria for periods ranging from 3 to 9 months.

Mizrachi cited 'suspicion' that those exiled from their homes had been involved in planning and executing violent attacks on Arabs in the region as his grounds for the order.

The IDF has consistently used so-called 'distancing' orders as a means of targeting nationalist activists in Judea and Samaria in cases where no evidence of wrong-doing can be produced.

Rights observers note that issuing extrajudicial orders against citizens merely suspected of criminal acts is a gross violation of the fundamental right to due process and a common tactic employed by totalitarian police states.

Haim Rahamim, head of the investigations and intelligence wing of the Judea and Samaria District in the West Bank, admitted to Rotem's committee that the Israel Police had been unsuccessful running undercover officers in the region and struggled to obtain sufficient evidence to make their cases in court.

Ministry of Justice representative Attorney Karen Dahari openly admitted nationalist activists had been systematically targeted with extrajudicial orders when police failed to make their cases in court.

"There is a phenomenon of violence in Judea and Samaria," Dahari told the committee. "We have a problem obtaining evidence and therefore we use distancing and administrative orders."

Senior Assistant State Attorney Shlomi Abramson tried to defend the practice of using extrajudicial orders against citizens who had not been convicted of a crime by an impartial court.

"As long as the law allows it we have a right to use them," Abramson said. "Administrative orders are a tool for the prosecution and are established precedent. These orders may arise due to information based on real concern of violent acts."

"There is no system of oversight controlling the prosecution, but these orders are just given a rubber stamp," Abramson claimed.

Rotem responded by saying, "It may not be nice to say, but this is a clear violation of human rights."

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) was even more direct, "You are using the law to perpetrate villainy. You use tools from the British Mandate. This isn't justice – it’s an outrage!"